Obama's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
By Sarah Rich / Published by Dwell

Since his page is still spare, we did a little digging. Donovan comes to the Obama team from his post as New York City housing commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While he has spent most of his career in housing policy, he has a degree in architecture, which he earned at Harvard's Graduate School of Design in conjunction with a public administration degree from the Kennedy School, and he practiced architecture in New York and Italy.

Donovan has been at HUD before, under Clinton, where he worked on subsidies for millions of families living in multifamily affordable housing units. In New York City, he worked to increase the density of new developments in order to reserve a portion of new housing space for low-income families.

Murmurs around the only-sometimes-reliable Internet suggest that Donovan is generally well-regarded, though everyone has their beef with new development, and pushing that agenda forward is part of the job. In the little-known facts arena, the New York Times informs us that Donovan once aspired to become a car designer and is married to a landscape architect. Perhaps we'll be seeing more green space around HUD zones.

Photo Creative Commons from bondidwhat

Sarah Rich


When not working in design, Sarah Rich writes, talks and forecasts about food and consumer culture.

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