Obama

This summer, the federal government's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities is taking applications for $100 million in grants for regional planning projects that promote alternatives to automobile transportation. Unfortunately, despite some high profile transit and rail projects, most of the stimulus spending has gone or will be going towards roads and highways.

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From Obama transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett (via the Washington Post), plans are underway to establish a White House Office of Urban Policy in order to better coordinate federal efforts to help America's cities.

I have blogged about this before. I am excited that president-elect Barack Obama has such a clear understanding of urban issues and a demonstrated intent to deal with them in a comprehensive and straightforward manner.

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I stay on top of a lot of progressive architecture blogs. For my money (time), Progressive Reactionary is one of the best. The most recent blog post over there says in much better words than I could why Barack Obama is the right option for people who are interested in urbanism and urban revitalization.

A key quote:

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Vote for Obama - Iraq

19 Oct 2008

Every election is important, from school board to county supervisor, from local ballot initiatives to the quadrennial circus of the presidential election. This one is no exception.

On each of the most pressing issues facing this country today, there is a clear choice between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

This is the first in a series of blog posts detailing why Barack Obama is the candidate best suited to lead this country through the next four years. They are guaranteed to be tumultuous. It will require a steady, thoughtful, and charismatic leader like Barack Obama to navigate us through these treacherous waters.

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Of the six major candidates for president, only Barack Obama has outlined a specific and coherent Urban Policy platform. While each of the other candidates and parties have individual policy proposals to address specific urban issues, it is plain to me that sustainable revitalization will take a coordinated approach.

From Obama's official campaign web site:

Today, government programs aimed at strengthening metropolitan areas are spread across the federal government with insufficient coordination or strategy. Worse, many federal programs inadvertently undermine cities and regions by encouraging inefficient and costly patterns of development and local competition.

For the most part, it appears that Obama's urban policy pulls together elements from his other policy statements. Some of them are more applicable than others and several policy suggestions in his Urban Policy proposal appear to actually promote suburban expansion(?).

But it's a start. The difference between Obama and the other candidates is that he is clearly thinking about urban policy as a comprehensive agenda. I am quite certain that this stems from his experience as an organizer in Chicago.

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