editorial     Dec 07 2009

An Urban Conversation

Mapos LLC

A great piece on WNYC this morning highlights a small initiative with big ambitions, and more importantly, a big audience. While it’s still in it’s infancy, we are encouraged by the Obama’s Office of Urban Affairs. It’s mission? Simply to connect, re-connect, and fertilize ideas across the many siloed bureaucracies in our federal government.


It seems logical in theory, though it has been almost invisible in practice. When we discuss the economy, or job creation, or urban planning, or education, or transportation, or public health, we are all talking on overlapping planes of development. No one issue exists in a vacuum. Cities and suburbs are, in fact, cohesive metropolitan areas that work and grow together. Nutrition affects health and relies on farming and transportation which influences transit and housing. Unwieldy? Perhaps. Compartmentalized? Hopefully not much longer.

Aldolfo Carron, the director of the Office of Urban Affairs, is asking federal agencies to consider “place” when drafting their 2011 budgets. And they’re listening.