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Maurice Cox, a nationally respected community designer and leader of the public interest design movement, has been named director of the Tulane City Center as well as the new associate dean for community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans. In his new roles, Cox will oversee a wide range of initiatives with Tulane architecture faculty and students throughout the New Orleans community.
“I’m arriving at Tulane during a fascinating time in the history of the school of architecture and this city,” said Cox. “New Orleans is in the process of realizing its aspiration to lead the nation in democratic practices of design.”
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.
At Tulane, Cox will be working with the highly successful programs of the Tulane City Center, URBANbuild, the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center, the preservation program and the school’s new Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program, all which are community outreach design initiatives of the university.