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Maurice Cox, a nationally respected community designer and leader of the public interest design movement, serves as associate dean for community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans. In his role, Cox is involved with a wide range of initiatives throughout the New Orleans community.
Cox, who studied architecture at Cooper Union in New York under the guidance of John Hejduk, comes to Tulane from the faculty of University of Virginia. A co-founder of the national SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental, Design) Network, Cox served as design director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC from 2007-2010. In that capacity, he led the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, the Governor’s Institute on Community Design and oversaw the award of more than $2 million a year in NEA design grants across the United States.
Cox has received national acclaim for his ability to incorporate active citizen participation into the design process while achieving the highest quality of design excellence, leading Fast Company business magazine to name him one of America’s “20 Masters of Design” for his practice of “democratic design.”
Cox’s appreciation of the civic process led him to serve as city councilmember and then mayor of the City of Charlottesville from 1996-2004. During Cox’s mayoral term (2002-2004) the city was ranked as the “#1 Best Place to Live in the USA & Canada” by Frommer’s Cities Ranked and Rated. The city was also the smallest in America to maintain a AAA-bond rating for excellence in fiscal management with a municipal city budget of $100 million. Under his leadership, Charlottesville completed several large projects, including the passage of an award-winning zoning ordinance in support of mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development; new infill residential neighborhoods and mixed-income, higher-density housing; and the design of a two-mile, federally funded parkway entrance into the city.