Friday, February 5, 2010

Simple Things?

"A third administration strategy...is to 'create neighborhoods of opportunity'.....[H]e... spoke of 'simple' things that could address neighborhood needs:'access to good jobs, affordable housing, convenient transportation that connects both, quality schools, health services, safe streets and parks,and access to fresh, healthy food supply.'

I like that approach--encompassing...the 'efficacy of the little good.'"

William Nudnut lll,"The Obama Urban Vision: Can It Come To Pass?" citiwire.net, February 1, 2010.

It's a wonderful thing to have a President talk about the federal role in creating healthy neighborhoods, cities, and metro regions. I also think it's important to acknowledge that this common sense vision about constitutes a good neighborhood and regional environment is held by a hold range of people, including businesses.

But talk of "simple things and the little good" makes me nervous. Take access to good jobs: how are we doing on that for the newly unemployed? Affordable housing, well, foreclosures have certainly increased the available stock. Schools? And how aboutfocusing on a reasonably-priced supermarket?

What I like about Obama's vision is that he's trying to fund and support building blocks while attempting to integrate across federal silos. This is not simple,and many public officials who have gone down this path have not produced much.Let's hope this time we all do it different.

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