Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Federal Focus on Cities

Valerie Jarrett, the co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, says that the new administration will include a new Office of Urban Policy. It will be charged with focusing on cities and will include a "comprehensive approach to urban development."

From Tuesday's All Things Considered on NPR:

"It is unclear who will lead the office, which will be tasked with advocating for cities and targeting programs in a 'logical and systematic way,' but it is a key position, according to Jarrett.

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

NPR's Melissa Block asked what the office would do that's not being done by other departments already. Jarrett replied, "What President-elect Obama recognizes is that it's really important that we take all of those different agencies and have a comprehensive approach to urban development. Having someone in the White House who is going to be an advocate for cities and who can take the variety of different federal programs and help target them in a logical and systemic way, I think is what president-elect Obama is trying to get at with this position."

According to Obama's website, the new office will strenthen the federal commitment to cities, with a strategy for metropolitan America and accountability that federal dollars earmarked fopr urban areas are "effectively spent on the highest-impact programs."

If you're interested in reading the new administration's plan for cities, click here (you'll have to download it as a pdf, however).

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