Again and again, Young made it clear that he sees building the infrastructure of a city from the bottom up as the best continuation of the Christian tradition he and Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Civil Rights Movement with. "I'm a basically a preacher," he said, and the best way he knows to uplift those in need is to build, and therein lies his call to action for developers and architects.
But the road of expedited development doesn’t guarantee equality. Young's serious efforts to distribute contracts and development to underserved populations notwithstanding, developer bonanzas aren't particularly well known for looking out for those in need. Young is right that abused and degraded communities need new economic development urgently, without the burdens of pointless bureaucratic red tape, and that this must require new building and infrastructure (new buildings, new businesses, new jobs, new money). But there has to be a balance that allows enough time and scrutiny to separate reasoned, rigorous proposals from the unformed and unplanned--a balance likely tested by the flood of development required to house the Olympic Games that came to Atlanta in 1996. What Young didn't talk about much was specific social policy and responsible growth guidelines, perhaps because he felt that wonk-speak might bore the audience. He wasn't talking about philanthropy, either. Optimistically, these are non-zero-sum deals that make money at the top and at the bottom of the social spectrum.
Young's speech obviously sees architects as social reformers, but to live up to this potential, they've got to have a social agenda beyond "just build." Young isn't an architect, so it's not up to him to articulate how social policy and infrastructural priories must intersect. Developers aren't likely to articulate this position either, though they architects, and clients should ideally share this burden. The best response to Young's call to action would be for architects to lead this discussion.