array of partnerships HUD has with other agencies at various levels, and makes recommendations for the maintenance and expansion of these relationships for the mutual benefit of HUD and its partners.
Within HUD, GIS provides a framework for organization across the agency’s many programs and for communication among the geographically decentralized field offices. The staffs of more than 3,400 public housing authorities, which are primarily responsible to the cities in which they are situated, also work to carry out HUD’s goals. Centrally, HUD maintains a variety of databases, primarily for program management (Chapter 2). The data could be centralized and made more accessible to these groups to improve HUD’s program performance through assessment and to better address housing and urban issues.
HUD can use GIS to facilitate the agency’s efforts to interact with organizations beyond its institutional boundaries to build vertical and horizontal networks to share data, discuss housing and urban issues, and ultimately create public policy to respond to these issues. In this way, HUD can contribute to national data initiatives and carry out its mission to improve the accessibility and affordability of housing and contribute to urban development.
GIS can help HUD engage both communities and a variety of other actors in discussions about local and national urban public policy. Maps are very effective tools for communicating information and fostering debate on critical issues. Maps have the power to inform local planning, engage and empower community residents and organizations, promote data sharing and interagency coordination, and support public policy development and implementation.
It is significant that HUD is one of the few federal agencies working directly with cities, communities, and neighborhoods. Because of these relationships, the agency can promote public participation in decision making, narrow the divide that prevents disadvantaged communities from participating in urban and housing policy setting, and bring the capabilities of GIS to bear on issues of local and national relevance.
The following section discusses the range of HUD’s relationships with other organizations at local, regional, and national levels and how the use of GIS could influence those relationships.