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Shelley Poticha appointed HUD senior advisor for sustainable housing and communities

Jul 24, 2009

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that Shelley Poticha has been appointed Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities. "Shelley will help lead HUD's effort to change the way we think about our communities," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Her wealth of experience will help move us forward in creating sustainable, greener and smarter communities." HUD is working with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) on legislation that seeks to create the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at HUD. Poticha will direct the office if the bill becomes law. Poticha currently serves as the president and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she has become a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development. Her efforts have stimulated a national conversation about the role of transit in shaping communities and the importance of building diverse and inclusive neighborhoods. Poticha will be joining James Lopez, senior advisor for sustainability issues to the deputy secretary and former director of strategic planning and performance management for King County, Wash. Lopez has been leading HUD's ground-breaking interagency work with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Energy. HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, who will be spearheading the Department's Sustainable Communities Initiative, said, "We're absolutely thrilled to have Shelley joining James and the rest of our first class team. She's a visionary and a well respected expert in growth management and urban policy and that, in turn, will help all of us focus on how to create better living environments for all Americans." HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities will advance housing and communities that promote affordable, livable and sustainable living environments. The Office will provide technical and policy support for energy, green building, and integrated housing and transportation programs at HUD and around the nation. Additionally, the Office will manage the Department's key relationships with other federal agencies in this arena like the departments of Transportation and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. "I thank Sen. Dodd for his leadership on sustainability and I look forward to him introducing the Livable Communities Act of 2009, which is expected to provide a comprehensive forward-looking approach to sustainability," said Donovan. "I am particularly pleased that he has worked with us to include several important provisions that are in line with key HUD budget proposals, including its authorization of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities within HUD. This office will be critical to advancing the goals of the interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which I recently announced with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at a Senate Banking Committee hearing chaired by Senator Dodd. I look forward to working with Senator Dodd as he drafts this legislation." In the San Francisco Bay Area, Poticha worked intensively on the first regional Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) policy that conditions the allocation of new transit funds on good land use planning. She also worked in Denver with the city and transit agency on a TOD Typology and Strategic Planning; in the Twin Cities to educate a broad coalition of community, business and government groups about the value of focusing the region's growth in neighborhoods served by transit; and in Seattle where she helped define a funding program for construction of a new streetcar. Prior to joining Reconnecting America, Poticha was the executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism. In this role, she guided the organization's growth into a national coalition with a prominent voice in national debates on urban revitalization, growth policy, and sprawl. She also launched a number of key initiatives addressing inter-city revitalization, mixed-income housing, infill development techniques, environmental preservation, alternative transportation policies, and real estate finance reform. Poticha has co-authored The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit," the Charter of the New Urbanism, and The Next American Metropolis with Peter Calthorpe. Poticha holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. For more information, visit
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