Calcutt, who is currently deputy chairman of developer Crest Nicholson, will take up his new position in May for three years.
A delighted Calcutt said: 'This kind of opportunity is one which comes along once in a career.
'I am immensely proud to accept this appointment and am looking forward to working with colleagues in ODPM, with English Partnerships chairman Margaret Ford and [her] highly talented staff.'
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott welcomed Calcutt's appointment, praising his 'immense calibre' and 'empathy with the concept of creating sustainable communities'.
Calcutt replaces David Higgins, who departed late last year to head up the recently formed Olympic Delivery Authority.