Maurice Cox

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Maurice Cox

Electoral District At-large
Term Start 1996
Term End 2000
Preceded by Tom Vandever (D)
Succeeded by Maurice Cox (D)

President of council, mayor
City of Charlottesville
Term Start 2002
Term End 2004
Preceded by Blake Caravati (D)
Succeeded by David Brown (D)

Electoral District At-large
Term Start 2000
Term End 2004
Preceded by Maurice Cox (D)
Succeeded by David Brown (D)

Biographical Information

Alma mater Cooper Union School of Architecture (Bachelor's in Architecture)
Profession Professor
Contributions $ VPAP database

Maurice Cox served as Mayor of Charlottesville from 2002 to 2004. He was an architect on the faculty of the University of Virginia. Cox is a former design director at the National Endowment for the Arts and a two-term City Councilor. In August 2012, Cox left Charlottesville for New Orleans, where he accepted the position of associate dean of community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture.[1]

In February 2015, he was named as director of planning and development for the city of Detroit. [2] In August 2019 he was named Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago. [3]


Cox was born in New York City and received a Bachelor's in Architecture from the Cooper Union School of Architecture. He taught for six years in Florence, Italy as part of Syracuse University's Italian Program. In 1993, he moved to the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor of Architecture. In 1996, he co-founded the architectural practice of RBGC Architecture, Research and Urbanism with partners Craig Barton, Giovanna Galfione and Martha Rowen.[4]

In 2024, Cox was awarded the Henry Hope Reed Award at the University of Notre Dame. [5]

City Council

Cox served as Mayor of Charlottesville from 2002 to 2004.

Cox was widely credited for encouraging the City to change its comprehensive plan in order to encourage more density and mixed uses. He presided over the City's new zoning code, which was adopted in 2003. He was an opponent of the Meadowcreek Parkway. [6]

In January 2003, he presented a vision for the future of the city which included a downtown arts district, extensive economic development efforts downtown, public private partnerships, commercial corridors and major residential projects. [7]

John W. Warner Parkway (a.k.a. Meadowcreek Parkway)

U.S. 250 Bypass Bridge & Parkway Interchange Heading Southbound, ca. 2018

When Maurice Cox was elected to the City Council in 2000, debate over the proposed road then known as the Meadowcreek Parkway had ground on for decades. The road, eventually christened the John W. Warner Parkway, looks the way it does in large part because of efforts by Cox and other local activists.[8]

“We never had the votes to kill the darn thing,” says Cox, “so instead I spent eight years of my political career trying to ‘defang’ a four-lane divided highway, aimed straight through the heart of downtown.”

Cox fought successfully for design restrictions that kept its interchange with the U.S. 250 Bypass relatively compact and its footprint narrow, so future leaders wouldn’t easily be able to widen it. “Being a designer, I figured if you couldn’t kill it then perhaps I could use the power of design to resize the threat and remake it into one of the best two-lane parkways Virginia has built in a generation.”

Election history

Cox ran for City Council in two elections, both as a Democrat.

2000 election for City Council

Candidates Votes %
Maurice Cox (D) incumbent 2,931 56.15
Meredith Richards (D) incumbent 2,734 52.38
Kevin Lynch (D) 2,723 52.16
Jon Bright (R) 1,946 37.28
Elizabeth Fortune (R) 1,793 34.35
John Pfaltz (R) 1,701 32.59
Kevin Cox (I) 740 14.18
Stratton Salidis (I) 317 6.07
Source: City of Charlottesville[9]

Voters could cast three votes, one for each of the three seats available, hence the percentages do not total 100%.

1996 election for City Council

Candidates Votes %
Maurice Cox (D) 2,733 65.40
Meredith Richards (D) 2,625 62.81
Virginia Daugherty (D) incumbent 2,571 61.52
Michael Crafaik (R) 1,852 44.32

Voters could cast three votes, one for each of the three seats available, hence the percentages do not total 100%.


Cox took a two-year sabbatical from the University of Virginia's school of architecture to serve as design director at the National Endowment for the Arts.[10]

Other community involvement

A few years after he left Council, Cox appeared at a League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area panel discussion on Global Warming along with former Albemarle Supervisor David Bowerman. [11]


  1. Web. Big Easy bound: Cox embarks on New Orleans adventure, Courteney Stuart, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 3 August 2012, retrieved 3 August 2012.
  2. Web. Letter to Maurice Cox, Michael E. Duggan, City of Detroit, February 5, 2015, retrieved April 22, 2015.
  3. Web. Mayor nominates Maurice Cox as Commissioner of Planning & Development, News Article, Chicago Crusader, August 12 2019, retrieved August 13, 2019.
  4. "UVa School of Architecture | Maurice Cox." University of Virginia School of Architecture. Web. 01 Sept. 2010. <>
  5. Web. Maurice Cox wins 2024 Henry Hope Reed Award, Carrie Rulli, Press Release, University of Notre Dame, January 25, 2024, retrieved March 4, 2024.
  6. Web. Mayorsville: Here, everybody's a mayor, Lisa Provence, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, August 10, 2006, retrieved July 3, 2020. Print. August 10, 2006 , 0532, .
  7. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 21, 2003.
  8. Web. Former Charlottesville mayor Maurice Cox, now Detroit’s director of planning and development, talks about managing growth, recovering from a crisis, and the power of telling the right story., c-ville, 8:00 a.m. Jun. 12, 2019, retrieved April 12, 2023.
  9. Web. Official Results May 2, 2000 City Council Election, city website, City of Charlottesville, retrieved August 4, 2022.
  10. Web. "Following NEA stint, Cox returns to architecture faculty.", Harding, Cathy, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, 22 Dec. 2009, retrieved 22 Dec. 2009. Print. Dec 22-28, 2009 , v.21 no. 51,  page 9.
  11. Web. Global Warming: What can local governments do?, Sean Tubbs, Podcast, Charlottesville Podcasting Network, February 28, 2007, retrieved March 27, 2021.

External links