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WH Office of Urban Affairs

More Details on WH Urban Policy Working Group

In a recent interview with WNYC news in New York, Adolfo Carrión, director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, revealed some more details on the work of the White House interagency urban policy working group. In the interview, Carrión said:

“All of that is coming back to an interagency process with 16 agencies that are working on the next budget cycle which is the 2011 budget. In that 2011 budget we are going to concentrate on several major areas affecting urban America.

One is the regional economies and how they operate and how best to position them and how we should operate as a national government to support research and development and development of jobs and positioning of industries in certain regions of the country.

The other is the sustainable community development strategy, which is aligning transportation investments with land use and ensuring that we reduce carbon footprint, get people out walking in their communities.

And the third is that at the end of the day, every American lives in a neighborhood, and we have to make sure we have strong, vital, robust neighborhoods that help ensure good housing, that we are able to educate our kids, that you can have a good, small business in a robust area. This is real stuff that touches real people.”

This is consistent with guidance released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in August. Carrión went on to describe the process:

"We have an interagency working group that meets twice a month formally as a large group with all of the key policy people. Then there are working groups on regional economies, there is a working group on sustainable community development. There is a working group on the neighborhood level investments that we make.”

Carrión did not say this, but it seems a safe bet that we are going to see more details on Promise Neighborhoods from the administration in two key documents in the coming months: (1) the Notice of Proposed Priorities for Promise Neighborhoods, which we will see coming from the Department of Education after Congress enacts the appropriations bill for the Department, likely later this month; and (2) the president's budget, which will be released in early February.

For now, it appears that the Department of Education remains the lead on Promise Neighborhoods, but this White House working group (especially the subgroup on neighborhood-level investments) may be a place where some of the cross-departmental conversations (with HUD and the Administration for Children and Families) are taking place.

White House Official Addresses Urban Policy Conference

Today the Next American City kicked off its conference called Open Cities: New Media’s Role in Shaping Urban Policy.  Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the two-day event is bringing representatives from new media together with influential urban policy thinkers and practitioners.  The conference web site sums up the movement behind the gathering:
In the past five years, numerous new media outlets have emerged to occupy a new niche: online urban advocacy. This cohort of advocates — consisting of the people behind editorial websites, blogs, wikis, software applications and young non-profits — has the potential to radically shift the way that the public engages with cities, and the way that local governments tap the power and ideas of their constituents.
This morning White House Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrión delivered the opening keynote, highlighting programs like Promise Neighborhoods and Choice Neighborhoods as testaments to the Obama administration’s commitment to place-based urban initiatives. He also announced that his office will soon launch a web page and discussed how the office is working to promote interagency collaboration within the federal government. Finally, he emphasized the importance of new media and suggested that his office is looking into developing innovative ways to engage with the American people. We will report have more to report tomorrow as the conference continues.
Today the Next American City kicked off its conference, called Open Cities: New Media’s Role in Shaping Urban Policy.  Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the two-day event is bringing representatives from new media together with influential urban policy thinkers and practitioners.  According to the conference web page:

In the past five years, numerous new media outlets have emerged to occupy a new niche: online urban advocacy. This cohort of advocates — consisting of the people behind editorial websites, blogs, wikis, software applications and young non-profits — has the potential to radically shift the way that the public engages with cities, and the way that local governments tap the power and ideas of their constituents.

This morning, White House Office of Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrión delivered the opening keynote, highlighting programs like Promise Neighborhoods and Choice Neighborhoods as testaments to the Obama administration’s commitment to place-based urban initiatives. He also announced that his office will soon launch a web page and discussed how the office is working to promote interagency collaboration within the federal government. Other topics of discussion today included the role of technology in city planning and civic engagement, innovation in city transit, and the connection between blogs and urban advocacy.

Urban Listening Tour Stops in Chicago and Dubuque

Administration officials recently stopped through Chicago in the latest stop on the White House urban listening tour. Along with a representative from HUD filling in for Secretary Shaun Donovan, attendees included DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and White House Urban Affairs director Adolfo Carrión. As we previously posted, HUD, DOT and the EPA have been working to coordinate housing, transportation and environmental policy to create environmentally and economically sustainable communities.
The leaders discussed ways that Chicago could be made more environemtnally sustainable. Carrion gave insight into this strategy by sharing:
The three lenses that we're looking at this through are: Are we making places more economically competitive? Are we making places that are more environmentally sustainable? And are we creating places that are providing opportunity for more people?
With upcoming stops in Denver, LA, Seattle, and Atlanta, we should have more to report from the listening tour soon.
Administration officials recently stopped through Chicago for the latest stop on the White House urban listening tour. Along with a representative from HUD filling in for Secretary Shaun Donovan, attendees included DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and White House Urban Affairs director Adolfo Carrión. As we previously posted, HUD, DOT and the EPA have launched an Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to coordinate housing, transportation and environmental policy to create environmentally and economically sustainable communities.

The leaders discussed ways that Chicago could be made more environmentally sustainable and gave some updates on related work their respective agencies are engaged in. Later that day the officials stopped by Dubuque, Iowa, where local leaders highlighted their efforts to promote sustainable practices in their communities. Following a showcase of the community’s holistic approach to housing, transportation, and environmental sustainability, the administration officials attended a local town hall to discuss more of the partnership's strategy with local constituents.
In Chicago, Carrión gave insight into this approach by sharing:

The three lenses that we're looking at this through are: Are we making places more economically competitive? Are we making places that are more environmentally sustainable? And are we creating places that are providing opportunity for more people?

With upcoming stops in Denver, LA, Seattle, and Atlanta, we should have more to report from the listening tour soon.

Urban Listening Tour Stop in Kansas City

Yesterday the White House Office on Urban Affairs visited Kansas City for the second stop on its national listening tour. There, a number of federal officials evaluated how the city had utilized the $200 million in stimulus aid it received for revitalization. (You can read more about the tour’s first stop in Philadelphia in our previous report.) Attendees included:

  • Adolfo Carrion, White House Urban Affairs Director
  • Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary
  • Van Jones, White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
  • John D. Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D - MO)

The leaders conducted a walking tour of the area beginning at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center and cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the Green Impact Zone Assistance Center. According to the Brookings Institute, the Impact Zone is a local effort to connect “a range of stimulus-funded programs over the next two years to target dollars to this one area to jump-start its economic recovery and community revitalization.” This initiative will focus on home weatherization, bus rapid transit, and new approaches to sustainable energy.

The officials highlighted the local effort as an model for coordinating federal and local funding to stimulate job creation, progressive development, and urban revitalization. As Carrion reported during a local news station interview, the administration plans on replicating the transportation, energy, and housing investments that have brought attention to the Kansas City initiative. We will keep you informed with updates as the listening tour continues.

White House Solicits Input on Urban Listening Tour

Adolfo Carrión, head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, wrote an entry on the official White House blog today. In it, he wrote about what happened in Philadelphia on the first stop of the administration's National Conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas.

Importantly, in closing, Carrión solicited additional input on questions and ideas for the tour:

The Philadelphia Conversation was a great start to the "National Conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas."  At each stop on the tour we will bring local innovators together with Obama Administration staff to discuss ways in which Washington can be a partner and catalyst for community-based solutions, instead of a bureaucratic obstacle. We look forward to the next stop and the opportunity to hear from people who are working every day to ensure that their cities and neighborhoods are places of opportunity. For questions or ideas for the Urban Tour, please feel free to send a message to urbanaffairs@who.eop.gov.

Readers of this blog should take him up on that offer. If possible, please copy me (plester at unca.org) with your remarks.

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by Dr. Radut