Cabinet Members Visit Campus

Cisneros Calls for Affordable Housing

During a speech yesterday at the Graduate School of Design, Henry Cisneros, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called for safe, inexpensive middle-class housing developments and less governmental involvement in building.

Cisneros spoke to an audience of over 200 as part of an ongoing lecture series at the school.

"He addressed very important issues that, as architects, we really need to get on the drawing boards," said Reinerio P. Faife, a second year design student.

Cisneros said projects need to focus on the "human scale" in building by constructing more smaller houses instead of large buildings. He said such neighborhood design would reduce crime.

Public housing developments, he said, are "viewed as one of the most dangerous places in the country."


To solve the problem, HUD is basing its new designs on the concept of "defensible space."

These designs would include single-family homes which would be more tightly knit. Criminals would have a harder time getting into these areas because they would stand out, the secretary said.

High-rise apartments, he said, are too isolated and anonymous, making it easier for criminals to get in.

In order to solve the problem, Cisneros said that more land needs to be developed so better housing can be built.

The source of this land, he said, should be the empty lots in cities where industries were located, which would shift the emphasis from building up the suburbs.

Too many developers build in suburbs, which inconveniences middle class families by forcing them to live outside of the city, he said.

Building in the cities, though, is too expensive for many developers because it involves clearing out hazardous waste.

To facilitate development, Cisneros said the federal government must become less involved in the development process.

"We need to figure out how to get the federal government out of the way or it will become irrelevant," he stated.

Rather than trying to play such an intricate role in development, Cisneros said, the government should "act as a catalyst" for housing development and then step back

Recommended Articles