I almost missed this article from Sunday’s Washington Post about that the Obama administration plan to create a national urban policy agenda. This will be the first main initiative of the new White House Office of Urban Affairs. The apparent first step along this path is to convene mayors, governors and others for a day-long session Monday. From the article:
The conference is the first indication that the White House could back its urban policy office with the kind of muscle that Obama suggested during his campaign, before the economic collapse. He called for a new kind of urban policy to address cities and also their suburbs, and urban advocates hoped that this could be a focus of his administration’s economic development approach.
From the article, it sounds like administration is intent on first gathering best practices from municipalities, states and various federal agencies:
Those gathered Monday will consider local initiatives that could become best practices to emulate, with the goals of increasing the competitiveness, sustainable development and opportunity of metropolitan regions.
The conference is to present an interdisciplinary approach to urban issues and include the heads of the Departments of Labor, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
We’ll be anxiously awaiting the outcomes of the sessions and the Administration’s vision for a national urban policy. Perhaps most interesting will be to compare some of the findings and ideas with the conversations we heard at the Berlin Smarter Cities summit and the recently published report from IBM’s Institute of Business Value, “A vision of smarter cities.”
Thanks to CEOs for Cities for the heads up on this article.