updated 12/13/2008 7:15:05 AM ET 2008-12-13T12:15:05

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday named New York City housing commissioner Shaun Donovan to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, turning to a former Clinton administration aide with a national reputation for developing affordable housing.

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Obama praised Donovan's record at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where he managed a $7.5 billion plan that put a half million New Yorkers in affordable housing. The Harvard-educated architect also kept foreclosures away from New York's low- and moderate-income home ownership plan, with just five foreclosures out of 17,000 participating homes.

"We can't keep throwing money at the problem, hoping for a different result," Obama said during his radio address released early Saturday. "We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas, and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just won't do."

Obama said the mortgage crisis has threatened cities, but it also provides a chance to rethink how the Cabinet agency can help urban residents. He said Donovan, who also has a graduate degree in public service from Harvard, will bring "fresh thinking unencumbered by old ideology and outdated ideas."

Donovan has worked as a top housing official since March 2004. Before that, he worked at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company as managing director of its affordable housing investments.

During the Clinton administration, he was deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing at HUD. In that role he was the government's chief administrator for managing privately owned, government-subsidized housing.

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