Jeff Speck will step down in May as

Jeff Speck will step down in May as director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts and return to private practice as a city planner. “I signed up for two years and ended up staying for four,” Speck said, expressing satisfaction with having helped provide NEA funds for new urbanist projects such the LEED-Neighborhood Development program; collaboration between the Institute of Classical Architecture-Classical America and Habitat for Humanity; Emily Talen’s book on codes; and efforts of the National Charrette Institute.

Speck will stay in the Washington area, “working as a consultant, principally advising developers and public officials on urban design challenges, but also completing plans for new neighborhoods and buildings,” he said. “My goal is to avoid becoming a firm, so that I can keep the paperwork to a minimum while working on as many exciting projects as possible. After four years focused on policy, I am looking forward to making places again.”

“Among the groups I will be working with is Canopy Development, where I will be design director,” Speck said. That firm focuses on creating sustainable, eco-tourist developments. He will also work with the Trust for Sustainable Development, which has an 8,000-acre resort project called Loreto Bay in Baja, Mexico (see Jan. 2006 New Urban News). Prior to joining NEA, Speck was a principal at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., where one of his responsibilities was leading the Loreto Bay project. He hopes to team up with firms such as DPZ and to write and lecture.