Urbama Admin? Prez-Elect ‘The Real Deal’ Says Metro Policy Guru

If Barack Obama’s soft spot for Detroit has you doubting his urban policy bona fides, Bruce Katz offers a few words of reassurance. The Stamford Advocate reports from Katz’s recent appearance before a Connecticut smart-growth group:

Katz is vice president and founding director of the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, an organization whose ideas are part of Obama’s urban agenda.

"This is the real deal," Katz said of Obama, hailing his plans for cities and metropolitan areas at Thursday night’s meeting of the 1,000 Friends of Connecticut in Norwalk.

Katz praised Obama’s June speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, while coyly turning aside speculation that he will head the new Urban Policy Office in the White House.

Speaking of which, we’re getting some intel on how that part of the executive will function. David Goldberg of Transportation for America informs us that "the office is conceived as something of a supercabinet position that potentially could coordinate policy among the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, environment, public health and other arenas."

The folks behind WalkScore have launched a new web site to collect ideas for the Urban Policy Office. Voting up your favorite ideas is pretty addictive.

  • lee

    michelle obama was deputy commish of chicago city planning, too

  • tal

    I think it’s funny how many vague reassurances are delivered by people who are outside of the administration. “Trust me, he won’t start a new war” , “Trust me, he’s the real deal, he cares about your XYZ issue” , “Trust me, he’s going to reform health care in a positive way”

    Really?

    I hope they can manage to deliver some money to build new infrastructure instead of spending money subsidizing Detroit’s SUV production! (What a brave first step!)

    After all, the Chicago EL is in terrible shape.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Obama Talks Urban Policy as LaHood Seeks More Urban Transpo Money

|
The White House Office of Urban Affairs, which has drawn criticism for its inactivity at a rocky economic time for the nation’s cities, capped a day-long summit today with a speech by President Obama. Referencing his formative years as a Chicago community organizer, Obama urged the mayors, governors, and Cabinet secretaries who attended the urban […]

Obama’s Agenda for Cities: Enough Talk

|
In closing his speech to a roundtable on urban and metropolitan issues, given yesterday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Barack Obama quoted Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, who famously urged men to "make no small plans." It’s a nice line for leaders with big goals, but it’s worth noting that Burnham wasn’t all talk. Does […]

Obama’s Touted Office of Urban Policy Slow to Take Shape

|
When Barack Obama was elected, urbanists were, in some cases literally, dancing in the streets. For once, America had elected a president who understood the importance of cities — and who promised to create an "Office for Urban Policy" that would help those cities to take their rightful place in the federal policy debate. But, […]

Same.gov: A Transportation Secretary Who’s Hard to Believe In

|
On Monday, Obama announced his "green dream team." Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wasn’t there. We’ve been calling around to Congressional staffers, advocates and insiders to get a better sense of what Obama’s appointment of Ray LaHood as transportation secretary means for those pushing for sustainable transport, smart growth, livable streets. While no one is giving […]

Richard Florida to Obama: Create a Department of Cities

|
If the U.S. federal bureaucracy includes Cabinet-level agencies dedicated to agriculture and “the interior,” why shouldn’t it have one dedicated to cities, which do so much of the heavy lifting for America’s economic productivity and innovation? This is what urbanist Richard Florida proposed in an op-ed Sunday for the New York Daily News. He wants President Obama […]

Obama, Ethanol, and the “New Metropolitan Reality”

|
In a weekend speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Senator Barack Obama continued to distinguish himself on urban policy, talking up cities as vital economic centers worthy of investment. Harry Moroz of DMI Blog has the story. Obama opened with a reference to his time as a community developer in Chicago and he joked […]