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Mayor nominates Maurice Cox as Commissioner of Planning & Development

Urban designer, architectural educator, and former mayor of Charlottesville, VA will lead Chicago’s growth

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot nominated Maurice D. Cox for Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago on August 7, 2019, and will submit his appointment for City Council approval. Cox most recently served as Director of Planning and Development for the City of Detroit.

“It is time that the city focuses on development that is directed throughout every community and into areas that have been overlooked for decades,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Maurice Cox is uniquely qualified to help create a city where development addresses the fundamental needs of every neighborhood so that Chicago benefits and equitably works for all its residents.”

Cox, who has taught at Syracuse University, the University of Virginia and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, has also served as Associate Dean for Community Engagement at Tulane University and Director of the Tulane City Center in New Orleans, LA. Celebrated for his experience merging architecture, politics and design education led to Cox being named one of “20 Masters of Design” in 2004 by Fast Company Business Magazine and in 2013, named one of the Most Admired Design Educators in America in the annual ranking of Design Intelligence.

In Detroit, Cox created a new, resident-centered planning and development department and led the city’s revitalization through innovative urban planning strategies that champion the equitable redevelopment of neighborhoods. The planning studies, supported by the City’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund, are unique to Detroit, mapping out short-term, fully-funded, and actionable changes for physical quality of life improvements to neighborhoods.

Cox served as Mayor of the City of Charlottesville, VA between 2002 and 2004. He also served in various other Charlottesville government roles including Chair of Housing and Development Authority Commission, Chair of Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, and Chair of Mayor’s Taskforce on Urban Housing Policy.

“Chicago is one of the most architecturally beautiful and inspiring cities in the world,” said Cox. “It is an honor to join Mayor Lightfoot’s team in our effort to harness the creative energy and resources that presently fuel the resurgence of downtown and expand it to all neighborhoods to create a more equitable and just city.”

Since Mayor Lightfoot took office, Eleanor Gorski has served as Acting Commissioner and will remain with the department as First Deputy.

“I want to thank Eleanor for stepping in and leading the important work of Planning and Development, which touches every single one of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Eleanor is a tremendous asset to my administration and the City of Chicago, and I look forward to continuing our work together.”

Mr. Cox will serve as Acting Commissioner starting September 15 and his appointment will be introduced to the City Council during the September meeting.

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is the principal planning agency for the City of Chicago. DPD promotes the comprehensive growth and sustainability of the City and its neighborhoods. The department also oversees the City’s zoning and land-use policies and employs a variety of resources to encourage business and real estate development, historic preservation, accessible waterfronts, walkable neighborhoods, and related community improvements.

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