Maurice D. Cox was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot in October 2019. Celebrated for his experience merging architecture, design and politics through multiple public, private and elected positions, Cox is responsible for leading DPD's economic development, planning and zoning functions while fostering community-improvement initiatives throughout the city. His primary focus is under-invested neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Cox was formerly director of planning and development for the City of Detroit, design director of the National Endowment of the Arts, and served as mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also a former professor at Syracuse University, the University of Virginia and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; a former associate dean for community engagement at Tulane University; and former director of the Tulane City Center in New Orleans.
A native of Brooklyn, he has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Cooper Union in New York City and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Detroit Mercy. He hopes to continue his 30-year tradition of walking and biking to work from his home on the Near North Side of Chicago.