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Cityscape: Special Issue December 1996


A Collection of Essays Henry G. Cisneros Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Special Issue December 1996

Ann R. Weeks


A Collection of Essays: Henry G. Cisneros, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Advisory Board

Editor: Michael A. Stegman
Managing Editor: Ann R. Weeks

Elijah Anderson
University of Pennsylvania

Roy Bahl
Georgia State University

Ann Bowman
University of South Carolina

Henry Coleman
Rutgers University

Greg Duncan
University of Michigan

Amy Glasmeier
Pennsylvania State University

Norman J. Glickman
Rutgers University

Harvey Goldstein
University of North Carolina

Jane Gravelle
Congressional Research Service

Bennett Harrison
Harvard University

Steven P. Hornburg
Fannie Mae Foundation

Helen F. Ladd
Duke University

Wilhelmina A. Leigh
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
University of Chicago

Sandra Newman
Johns Hopkins University

John Tuccillo
National Association of Realtors

Avis Vidal
New School of Social Research

Don Villarejo
California Institute for Rural Studies

Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research strives to share HUD-funded and other research on housing and urban policy issues with scholars, government officials, and others involved in setting policy and determining the direction of future research.

Cityscape focuses on innovative ideas, policies, and programs that show promise in revitalizing cities and regions, renewing their infrastructure, and creating economic opportunities. A typical issue consists of articles that examine various aspects of a theme of particular interest to our audience.

From the Editor

Michael A. Stegman, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research

When the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was created in the midst of the "urban crisis" of the 1960s, it was intended in part to give America's cities a voice at the highest level of government. Over the past 30 years, no Secretary has performed this role with greater energy or skill than Henry G. Cisneros. He has been a tireless advocate and an able steward of the Nation's commitment to create stronger communities, offering a clear vision and bold strategies for addressing our cities' most urgent challenges. He has been instrumental in forging a growing consensus for policies that are transforming public housing, unlocking the door to homeownership for millions of families, and bringing new opportunities for economic growth to distressed communities.

However, Secretary Cisneros has always recognized that his voice must also carry far beyond HUD and national political forums, because the choices that will guide the future of America's communities transcend the relatively narrow boundaries of Federal influence. These choices are made every day in thousands of cities and towns by the residents and the institutions that serve them. To engage the American people in a new discussion of the critical issues confronting our cities-and to explore and expand the range of strategies for resolving them-the Secretary began the series of essays now collected in this special issue of Cityscape.

In many ways, these essays are personal reflections on things Secretary Cisneros has seen and heard during the past 4 years as he visited dozens of places where some of the most important attributes of stable families and stable communities-jobs, fathers, hope-are most scarce. Avoiding simple scapegoats and easy answers, the Secretary offers unflinching analyses of the complex problems such communities face, as well as a thoughtful search for practical solutions. His search often challenges us to consider important ideas that are on the cutting edge of thought about urban issues. Some essays highlight the promise of innovative concepts such as defensible space ("Defensible Space: Deterring Crime and Building Community") and comparative advantage ("Urban Entrepreneurialism and National Economic Growth"); others take a fresh look at innovations in metropolitan governance ("Regionalism: The New Geography of Opportunity") which, though currently dismissed by many as politically unpalatable, will likely prove critical to the future vitality of fragmented and economically isolated urban areas.

One of the dominant themes of Secretary Cisneros' essays is that every community can thrive-nurturing its children, supporting its values, providing opportunities for every-one-if it mobilizes all of its resources in the effort. As their titles suggest, the essays constitute a partial inventory of these resources. "Universities and the Urban Challenge," "Community Colleges and Urban Development," and "Higher Ground: Faith Communities and Community Building" discuss ways in which local institutions, traditionally regarded as inward-looking, can become engaged in community renewal. "Fathers and Families: Changing the Rules" is a deeply felt reflection on the indispensable role that fathers play in the lives of their children and, by extension, in the future of their communities.

"Urban Land and the Urban Prospect" considers the tremendous economic potential of our cities' most basic and often despised physical resource: their vacant land. "Preserving Everybody's History" points out the personal, social, and economic value of reclaiming an equally important but less tangible community resource: its unique history and culture.

These essays reveal the essence of Henry Cisneros-his love for his family and his San Antonio roots, his probing mind and keen vision, his commitment to our cities' potential and our Nation's future. It has been a privilege to work with him.

Biography of Henry G. Cisneros

As a member of the President's Cabinet, Secretary Cisneros has set and pursued six clear priorities for HUD in the 1990s: reducing the number of homeless in America by developing a continuum-of-care system; transforming public housing; creating a record homeownership rate in America by the year 2000; reviving economically distressed communities through Empowerment Zones; assuring fairness in the workings of housing markets; and transforming HUD into a "community-first" organization that focuses national efforts on preserving and improving America's communities.

In 1981 Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic mayor of a major U.S. city when he was elected Mayor of San Antonio, the Nation's 10th largest city. As a four-term mayor—from 1981 to 1989—he rebuilt the city's economic base, focused on its biomedical sector, attracted high-tech industries, increased tourism, and created jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements. In 1985 Mr. Cisneros was elected president of the National League of Cities. He also has served as chair of the National Civic League, deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and board member of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Mr. Cisneros received a B.A. and an M.A. in Urban Planning from Texas A&M, an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from George Washington University.

The University and the Urban Challenge

Defensible Space: Deterring Crime and Building Community

Regionalism: The New Geography of Opportunity

Urban Entrepreneurialism and National Economic Growth

Higher Ground: Faith Communities and Community Building

Preserving Everybody's History

Fathers and Families: Changing the Rules

Urban Land and the Urban Prospect

Community Colleges and Urban Development

Searching for Home: Mentally Ill Homeless People in America



Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Subscriptions are available at no charge and single copies at a nominal fee. The journal is also available on line at http://www.

PD&R welcomes submissions to the Refereed Papers section of the journal. Our referee process is double blind and timely, and our referees are highly qualified. The managing editor will also respond to authors who submit outlines of proposed papers regarding the suitability of those proposals for inclusion in Cityscape. Send manuscripts or outlines to

Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of HUD or the U.S. government.

Visit PD&R’s website,, to find this publication and others sponsored by PD&R. Other services of HUD USER, PD&R’s research information service, include listservs, special interest and bimonthly publications (best practices and significant studies from other sources), access to public use databases, and a hotline (800–245–2691) for help with accessing the information you need.


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