In the midst of my final reviews I somehow missed that Shaun Donovan was appointed to Obama's cabinet as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. When I finally saw the news while reviewing Obama's cabinet selections this afternoon, I actually pumped a happy fist in the air.
I had the chance to meet with Donovan a couple times when he was the head of New York's Department of Housing Preservation and Development while I was working with a team analyzing the potential for housing built on platforms over railways and highways.
I worked on the project only briefly, and with Donovan specifically even less. Even so, he made a strong impression on me. He struck me as remarkably creative -- a rare talent in a field like housing where a mastery of the numbers of finance and economics is paramount. An architect, Donovan also demonstrated an ability to think spatially, conceiving of solutions that were neither pure planning nor pure finance.
Although the work ahead for Donovan and Obama is tremendous, I am encouraged by this new direction for HUD. It's a time for change, and I hope Donovan can make HUD lead the way. (For more on Donovan, see the NY Times.)
(Donovan photo from the Huffington Post.
Highway platform image from Brownstoner.)