Dr. Nico Calavita Receives Affordable Housing Award
2010-05-28 · By Editor
Nico Calavita, professor emeritus at San Diego State University, will receive the San Diego Housing Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday, June 3 for his years of championing affordable housing and land use issues. The award will be presented at the Federation’s 15th Annual Affordable Housing and Community Development Awards Program at the McMillin Events Center at NTC.
Dr. Calavita was a professor in SDSU’s School of Public Administration and Urban Studies until his retirement earlier this year. He is an international scholar, lecturer, and authority on affordable housing and land use issues. His work is based on equity planning principles. He links his research with community service as a consultant, advisor and volunteer.
The Housing Federation Board of Directors selected Dr. Calavita as the recipient of the annual award. Board President Evan Becker said, “Nico Calavita is extremely deserving of this award. His research and writing, his insight, and his political understanding help us to better understand what it takes for everyone to have a safe and affordable place to live. He continues to be engaged in creating a place and policies that make it possible for our members to do the work we do for low income families, seniors and the homeless.”
Dr. Calavita is recognized particularly for his work on inclusionary housing and has been instrumental in the creation of inclusionary zoning in San Diego and throughout the U.S. His research and publications on housing policies are based on his direct involvement in the attempts to implement those programs in the City of San Diego.
His articles on the politics of growth, inclusionary housing, and housing trust funds have appeared in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Housing Policy Debate and the Journal of the Associate Schools of Planning among many other publications. He writes regular commentaries in the San Diego Union and Los Angeles Times on growth and housing issues. His ongoing research has resulted in a book Inclusionary Housing: A Comparative International Analysis being published this summer in collaboration with Alan Mallach.
He was the co-founder of the Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego and served on theBoard of Trustees of the City Heights Community Development Corporation. In 1988, Nicoorganized a Balanced Communities Conference that became the foundation for the City of SanDiego’s Housing Trust Fund. With the creation of the City’s Housing Trust Fund (HTF) in 1990, he was appointed to its Board of Trustees.
He is also credited with influencing the inclusionary housing requirements for the Future Urbanizing Area of the City of San Diego. The purpose of this ordinance was to ensure the diversity of the emerging Carmel Valley area and to provide affordable homes for low income families who wanted to be closer to work, family and/or good schools. The outcome of that effort is the inclusion of hundreds of attractive apartments designed to blend into their newly-created neighborhoods providing affordable homes for those who would have otherwise been unable to live there.
Dr. Calavita has been a consultant to many community groups helping to set the direction of the San Diego region and Tijuana. According to former San Diego Housing Commission CEO Betsy Morris, “He’s served on every task force and advisory committee dealing with affordable housing and land use that the City or SANDAG has ever created.”
Prof. Calavita taught Urban Planning, Urban Design and Land Use among other courses at SDSU for nearly 30 years and coordinated the graduate program in City Planning. He was also an adjunct professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at UCSD. Early in his career he taught at the University of Delaware where he also did post graduate work in urban sociology. His doctorate in Architecture and Urban Planning is from the University of Florence and he’s taught there and at the University of Naples in Italy.
Anne Wilson, senior vice president at Community HousingWorks and a member of the Federation Board, noted, “While many academics live safely in their ivory towers publishing, Nico took on topics that were actively being considered or implemented. He helped bring new ideas to San Diego. Nico is a key player in opening public dialog about the state of housing in this region.”
For information or tickets to the awards event, go to the San Diego Housing Federation website.