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Obama Paints a New Vision for Nation's Urban Policy

By Robin Shulman
Addressing a White House urban affairs summit on Monday, President Obama called for the "reinvention" of America's cities and metropolitan areas and vowed to spark a public conversation to create a "new, imaginative, bold vision" for urban policy.

The speech was Obama's first as president dedicated to urban issues, a subject he called "near and dear to my heart."

He promised to send Cabinet members across the country this summer to engage Americans toward the creation of a national urban agenda, and he announced, for the first time in 30 years, an intensive interagency review to take a "hard look" at how federal policy impacts urban areas.

The summit was the first indication that the White House might back its newly created Office of Urban Affairs with the kind of muscle that Obama suggested during his campaign. That goal, introduced before the economic collapse, would reverse decades of federal disinterest in cities.

The meeting convened dozens of policy experts, along with mayors, county officials, governors and a half-dozen agency heads to discuss how the federal government can help build competitive, sustainable and inclusive urban areas.

Obama noted that he has lived almost all his life in cities, including studying in Los Angeles, New York and Cambridge, Mass., and founding his political career in Chicago.
But he said that he defined "urban" as not just inner cities, but also their surrounding suburbs, asserting that there is no longer a divide between the two.

"Even as we've seen many of our central cities continuing to grow in recent years, we've seen their suburbs and exurbs grow roughly twice as fast," said Obama. "It's not just our cities that are hotbeds of innovation anymore, it's our growing metropolitan areas."

He said he would send members of his Cabinet and the Office of Urban Affairs to look at innovations in cities around the country to elevate as best practices.

Obama noted Denver, for its plans to build a public transit system to handle the city's anticipated growth; Philadelphia, for its urban agriculture; and Kansas City, which has weatherized homes and built a ecologically minded transit system in one low-income neighborhood.

The president also said he has directed the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Urban Affairs to review federal policies impacting urban areas, in terms of infrastructure, transportation, housing, energy, sustainable development and education.

Obama acknowledged that the economic crisis has caused four out of five American cities to cut services, and 48 states to face the prospects of budget deficits in the coming fiscal year. But he said the federal government must do more than just help cities weather the current economic storm -- it must figure out ways to "rebuild them on a newer, firmer, stronger foundation."

He also presented a comprehensive effort to build sustainable communities, led by the secretaries of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation, and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"For too long, federal policy has actually encouraged sprawl and congestion and pollution, rather than quality public transportation and smart, sustainable development," said Obama.

He said that developing housing, transportation and energy-efficiency should "go hand in hand."

By Post Editor  |  July 14, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Economy  
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It warms me to know that Obama is now going to take on urban renewal. I only hope he doesn't apply the same methods and madness to a national program that he applied to the rousing success he showed as a councilman and state legislator in IL. The continued blight and lack of options and resources that exist in urban Chicago after eight years of failure at the hands of Obama are a testament to the true objectives of the Obamas, Jacksons, Sharptons and their millionaire minions.

It is time the black leadership took the boot of oppression from the throats of those they allegedly wish to see rise up economically.

Posted by: BasilBoy | July 14, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

With a great deal of noise, it has been noted that the expansion of the population has been the reflection of the 'invasion' of the illegal aliens. The Census suggests there are 44 million Hispanics in this country, but 12 million of that number are illegal aliens, and if you look at the 14th Amendment, you know those kids associated with the illegal aliens are NOT citizens and you lose perhaps another 8 million people as we deport according to the law. And if the oath of office is honored, and the illegal aliens ARE deported per the law, we will lose some 24 million illegal aliens and the downtown areas may well not grow much at all. They could shrink. I am hoping Obama doesn't count chickens before they hatch and commit money we don't have to that process. Better to to commit to the educational processes so that the H1B's and all of that abuse can be avoided.

Posted by: joelwisch | July 14, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

coming soon to your town or city. your very own czar appointed by the president to make sure you're doing things the obama way.

Posted by: dennisintn | July 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"CIA Assassination Ring" a Cover Story to Shield Nationwide American Gestapo?


• Bush-legacy extrajudicial targeting/punishment network makes a mockery of the rule of law at the grassroots -- violating civil and human rights.

President Obama has been co-opted into becoming the enabler of a federally-funded and overseen "multi-agency coordinated action" program of nationwide extrajudicial targeting and punishment...

...a vigilante Gestapo "torture matrix" that is misusing federally-funded volunteer programs to subvert the rule of law -- deploying a civilian vigilante army that covertly implants GPS tracking devices to stalk, persecute, vandalize and harass unjustly targeted citizens and their families.

This secretive multi-agency "program" also misuses government surveillance operations to censor, and maliciously tamper with, the telecommunications of many thousands of the unjustly targeted -- and funnels surveillance data to citizen "gang stalker" harassers.

An array of "programs of personal financial destruction" decimates the finances of "target" families -- contributing to economic distress. And microwave "directed energy weapons" are being used to degrade their very lives -- a gross violation of human rights, government-enabled crimes against humanity.

And no authorities will investigate -- invoking the "Gulag" tactic of dismissing those who seek justice as "delusional."

Please, Team Obama: Wake up and smell the police state that is co-opting your administration and making POTUS a pitchman and enabler for an American Gestapo.

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 14, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

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