Kaid Benfield Archive


Shelley Poticha to lead NRDC's new urban solutions program

Kaid Benfield

Posted May 24, 2013 at 1:43PM

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  Shelley R. Poticha (by: Vision North Texas)

I could not be more honored and excited to announce that Shelley Poticha is coming to NRDC to direct and build our new urban solutions program.  Shelley has spent the last four years at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she has been a senior advisor and director of the agency's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. 

As I wrote last year, the OSHC under Shelley's leadership became the government's leading supporter of local initiatives for sustainability, assisting cities and towns all over the country on improving their plans and investment for a more resilient, greener future.  In 2010 and 2011, for example, OSHC awarded 152 grants in 48 states, totaling $240 million. This in turn generated almost $253 million in private investments and commitments from local partners building a brighter future for their communities.

In a 2009 blog post praising Shelley's appointment at HUD, I described NRDC's longtime friend as an "awesome choice" who is "wise, pragmatic, insightful, committed and articulate."  Shelley has been NRDC's partner in multiple initiatives including transportation reform, the co-founding of LEED for Neighborhood Development, and the creation of Smart Growth America, and has been a personal friend to many of us for years.  Prior to her work at HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy, with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations. 

Prior to joining Reconnecting America, Shelley was the Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism. 

I am also tremendously excited that NRDC will be launching our new urban solutions program, which will provide us with a formal operating structure for coordinating and building our work for better cities, including promotion of transportation choices through better regional planning; a scaled up energy efficiency effort in ten major US cities; model green, equitable neighborhoods; sustainable food in urban environments; green infrastructure for stormwater management and multiple community benefits; and resilient communities. 

Urban Solutions is the culmination of our thinking and work for sustainable communities since our organization adopted the topic as an institutional priority three years ago.  I will become special counsel to the new program, and you may expect to hear much more about it here in the coming months.

Shelley holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She will work in NRDC’s Washington office and expects to start in August.

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