This is an archive of all Community Trailblazers content. It provides a historical perspective on the creation of housing and communities.

The Oral History of Housing and Communities

In the Community TrailBlazers Podcast, we are featuring Fellows of the American Academy of Housing and Communities who have had a major impact on world affairs, federal policy, and the development of community culture through courageous action to bring about change. Most have lived through many Presidents, many generations, and many changes. We capture their thoughts on the last 50 years of public policy and discuss what the future may hold.

Kent Watkins founded this honorary society, consisting of the top national and international thought leaders and implementers in the field of urbanism. These include heads of federal agencies and their senior staffs, as well as urbanist leaders in social welfare, health, education, culinary arts, art and poetry, transportation, climate and others who have made an impact on the culture of the areas we live in.  All are considered peers and have achieved success in some unique way. Referred to as the Academy Series, Nan McKay spotlights these trailblazers.

Malcolm “Mike” Peabody

The Freedom of Choice Ep. 42 - Malcolm 'Mike' Peabody's life has been founded on giving people the freedom of choice. He is known as the man who reinvented Public Housing. Giving people the ability to be like everyone else without discrimination The power of giving people the choice to ...
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Monica Sussman

Break the Housing Gridlock Ep. 7 - Monica Sussman details how rising income inequality, neglected infrastructure needs, and excessive turnover at HUD fuel the challenges. She offers hope that young people will rise up to tackle these challenges, work hard, and not be discouraged by the seemingly huge odds against ...
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Joyce Cowin

Never Stop Learning Ep. 41 - Joyce Cowin of New York City is a 90-year-old Fellow of the Academy going on 55. She never ceases to amaze those around her with her activities and achievements. How to start a project that supports women no matter how small - why she ...
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Dwight Ink

The Indiana Jones Of Public Administrators Ep. 40 - Meet Dwight Ink, a 97-year-old activist who has had a fascinating life and one of the best storytellers ever! His government career serving 7 Presidents is magnificent! How to learn to fight for what is right even when you could possibly ...
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James W Loewen

Racial History and Sundown Towns Ep. 39 - James Loewen's gripping retelling of American racial history as it should, and could, be taught, Lies My Teacher Told Me, has sold more than 1,500,000 copies and continues to inspire K-16 teachers to get students to challenge, rather than memorize, their textbooks. ...
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Lyn Burton

Facilitating Leadership for the Affordable Housing Industry Ep. 38 - Lyn Burton, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Connections, is changing the mindset of affordable housing and providing an educational opportunity by facilitating leadership for the affordable housing industry for young people interested in making a difference. Educating on new careers ...
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Marshall Kaplan

A First-Hand Account of the History of HUD Ep. 8 - Marshall Kaplan has stamped his mark on community development under Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter. And he has some definite opinions on HUD! Factors that have blurred HUD's history since its inception Why federal programs rarely worked and only ...
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Tom Bozzuto

Doing Housing Right Ep. 10 - Tom Bozzuto has dedicated his career to creating sanctuary. As a man of both reflection and action, his business model on doing housing right has been governed by civic responsibility and the belief that true success comes to those who do things the right ...
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Kent Colton

The Ivory Prize and Innovations in Affordable Housing Ep. 16 - Kent W. Colton is a sought-after voice in housing policy. As president of the Colton Housing Group and senior research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, he has a sweeping knowledge of the long effort to ensure ...
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Stanley Newman

Federal History of Segregation, Redlining and Civil Rights Ep. 37 - Stanley Newman recounts hearing Martin Luther King speak in Montgomery, Alabam, the civil rights act of 1964 and 1965, the redlining going on at FHA, and the segregation of public housing. He was director of HUD UDAG program and ...
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Joe Ventrone

Time for Radical Change Ep. 13 - Joseph M. Ventrone, the Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS® Federal Policy and Industry Relations Team, feels that it is a time for radical change and believes that HUD and federal housing policy need a realignment. After over 40 years of ...
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Ann Schnare

Freddie Mac, Credit Ratings and Segregation Ep. 11 - Dr. Ann B. Schnare, the President of AB Schnare Associates LLC, a consulting firm specializing in housing and mortgage finance, says, "Discrimination, segregation, income inequality, and automation are among the serious structural challenges that today's leaders must tackle." The importance of ...
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Kent Watkins and Nan McKay

A Historical Perspective on Housing and Communities Ep. 1 - Kent Watkins and Nan McKay bring the oral history of housing, culture and communities to life! They reflect on their decades of work in the affordable housing industry and analyze the many challenges on the horizon. Learn about the American ...
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Helen Dunlap

Mark-to-Market and REAC: HUD Innovations Ep. 36 - When Helen Dunlap started at HUD she quickly discovered that 25% of  HUD's multifamily portfolio was at risk for foreclosure. She was involved early-on in the innovations including mark-to-market and REAC, to save the program. The major problem of policymakers of creating ...
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