Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama Is Creating A New Office of Urban Policy

Rooftop View
(Downtown L.A. & 10 Freeway)

It looks like the days of the White House exclusively pandering to the image of small town America and the burbs is at last being put to rest. In your face divisive "big cities are unAmerican" Sarah Palin. Obama, a native to the very bicycle friendly city of Chicago isn't in the white house yet, but he is already thinking about how we move forward to revitalize our urban centers. To this end he has proposed for the first time in American history, a new Office of Urban Policy. Transportation for America's David Goldberg writes, "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."

If this plays out how I dare say, "hope" it does, this could become the beginning of an urban renaissance in America. In 1961 urban activist and author Jane Jacobs wrote the still highly relevant book The Life & Death Of Great American Cities, and perhaps now at last, we can finally see some of her ideas for urban revitalization set into motion.

Alternative transit and livable streets advocates are buzzing with excitement (aka nerding out all over their blogs like I am doing right now). A website has sprung up to vote on and propose ideas that will be narrowed down and sent to lobby the Obama administration. I wrote that we create a federal complete streets legislation (stole idea from Streets Blog) to create road guidelines that include all road users (BIKES TOO!!!) to qualify for federal funding benefits. If you want to have your say, or cast votes for the great ideas already floating around, go check it out.

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