Archive for November, 2008

This just came across my inbox! I’m very excited to see Obama and efforts to promote investment in urban infrastructure. Someone has also put up a website that lets you vote on specific urban policy issues. I’m not sure whether this site is officially connected to Obama’s administration, but it’s worth checking out. Maybe if there is enough internet traffic, it will pick up on Obama’s radar screen!

Obama to Create White House Office of Urban Policy

November 12, 2008 8:59 AM

On National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” yesterday, longtime Obama family friend and Obama-Biden transition team co-chair Valerie Jarrett said that the president-elect would, as pledged during the campaign, create an Office of Urban Policy.

Jarrett said the office would “have a comprehensive approach to our urban development,” who will be an “advocate for cities” within the White House, taking “all the variety of different federal programs and help target them in a logical and systematic way.

“For those of us who have worked in city governments across the country, we recognize how invaluable that person will be,” she said.

Obama discussed this idea in June in a speech before the U.S. Conferen.

“Yes, we need to fight poverty,” he said. “Yes, we need to fight crime. Yes, we need to strengthen our cities. But we also need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America. That is the new metropolitan reality and we need a new strategy that reflects it -– a strategy that’s about South Florida as much as Miami; that’s about Mesa and Scottsdale as much as Phoenix; that’s about Stamford and Northern New Jersey as much as New York City. As president, I’ll work with you to develop this kind of strategy and I’ll appoint the first White House Director of Urban Policy to help make it a reality.”

– jpt

UPDATE: ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer points out that Obama lost small towns and rural areas by 8 points, won suburbs by a scant 2 points, and won cities (population 50,000+) by 28 points, 63-35 percent. (That includes a 59-39 percent margin in cities with a population of 50,000-500,000, and an even wider 70-28 percent margin in cities with more than 500,000 residents.)

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Huma Khan

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It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that’s motivated me enough to start a new blog post.  Attending design school has been one of the most consuming and exhausting endeavors I’ve undertaken. But today I read an explosive speech by Jeff Chang, and it has helped me re-orient myself back to the first reason I decided to become a landscape architect/urban planner.

I’m starting to piece together and articulate how the policies that the past 40 years, which Jeff summarizes in his speech, also encompass the physical and spatial disenfranchisement of communities of color. When Jeff describes hip-hop as a response to the “story of the rise of the politics of abandonment and the politics of containment”, it is not just that these policies have socially disenfranchised communities, but that there is a a physical displacement and exclusion of communities that has resulted.  The urban renewal policies of the 1950s, combined with the drug economy, destroyed our Paradise Valleys and Hill Districts around the country, p

In school, this sense of urgency is mostly absent among students.  Too bad most of us are caught up perfecting our renderings and drawings, clicking away in front of computer screens (and here I sit blogging).  We need more conscious, justice-oriented designers to join the fight to restore our communities and take up the questions that Jeff posed at the end of his speech.

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