Obama and the Urban Agenda

Greg Hanscom on Grist:

The thumbnail version is this: Under President Obama, key federal agencies have begun to shift away from subsidizing suburban sprawl and toward reviving cities and creating dense, walkable, transit-friendly communities. Obama has put smart-growthers and new urbanists in key positions, begun to realign government agencies to prioritize sustainability, and launched partnerships and initiatives that one Bush administration veteran calls “mind blowing” — in a good way. Even Obama’s allies agree, however, that serious reform may have to wait for a second term. If there is one.

There is more than meets the eye to Smart Growth. Ending subsidies for suburban sprawl is good but we need to think comprehensively: both the so-called central city and the so-call suburbs need to be revived. We can't allow the central city to become the green playground for the affluent and young professionals, while the suburbs slip into social and environmental neglect. If this happens, it will end up just the reverse of what happened after World War II when affluent whites moved out of the central city, into the suburbs, and left a wake of crisis behind in city after city. The sustainable modern metropolis will have a re-imagined and revitalized center and suburb.