Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Speaks to CSUN Students about the Future of Urban Development

  • (R-L) Robert Gunsalus, Vice President for University Advancement and Wendy Greuel, the Executive-in-Residence of the Nazarian College welcomed Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to CSUN on April 24. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros spoke to the CSUN community at the Noski Auditorium on April 24. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Henry Cisneros talks to CSUN students after his lecture. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

The housing market experienced an unprecedented price spike within the last few years that changed the urban economy and could affect many American cities’ futures.

To examine the contemporary urban economy, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics invited former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros to the Noski Auditorium on April 24.

In his lecture Los Angeles and America’s Cities: The Economic Engine of the Nation’s Future, Cisneros addressed the urban economy’s changing demographics and the roles investment, businesses and leadership play in the process.

“For the first time in American history, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas. We’re living in a world of urbanization,” Cisneros said. “The American economy is really driven by these engines we call cities.”

Cisneros painted the United States as a metropolitan nation where more than 65 percent of Americans live in the 100 largest urban areas and produce 75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. He explained the various elements that play important roles in a flourishing urban economy – new media, higher education, medical centers, international trade, technology, tourism and hospitality.

“He addressed critical issues facing our country related to housing, economic development and homelessness,” said the Nazarian College’s Executive-in-Residence Wendy Greuel. “His message to the students, faculty and community leaders underscored the fact that the future of our country depends on the success of our cities. Our urban cities are determining the type of jobs and economic development that will drive our economy.”

Milucha Sibala, a marketing senior who attended the event, said Cisneros gave her and other students good leads on possible future job opportunities within the urban development industry, such as in urban affairs, urban planning and public administration.

“His lecture was very informative. I feel like it was very practical for everyone to know,” she said. “Housing is pretty difficult for young adults right now and I think it is important to pursue a career that matches the lifestyle you want.”

Cisneros described himself as a believer in public higher education’s potential to reach the masses and provide leadership. He praised CSUN for its commitment to guide students through their studies toward their individual career goals.

“As students look forward to their career and what they want to do, it is critically important that they engage with leaders who have experiences that will help inspire and challenge them to do their best,” Greuel said.

After his lecture, Cisneros answered questions from the audience and took his time speaking directly to individual students who approached him at the reception.

“We have a great potential for a prosperous American future,” he said. “There are so many good things lined up for us.”

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