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Suburban Voices Needed At White House

This piece from Robert E. Lang and Lawrence Levy calls for President Barack Obama to include suburban voices in his administration's policy discussions about urban issues.

"Suburban voters provide the decisive margins in congressional and presidential elections, including for Obama, who won big in the formerly Republican-leaning suburbs outside Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, Orlando and Washington, DC. And suburban lawmakers, like their constituents, will be the "swing vote" in shaping his national agenda. If he cannot sell it just beyond the city lines, then he cannot sell it, period.

But we should not view the suburbs in political opposition but as part of a larger metropolitan area. That means treating cities and suburbs as seamless, synergistic wholes. As the Brookings Institution has documented in its Blueprint for American Prosperity, focusing more federal resources on metro regions and their considerable assets is essential to the nation's ability to compete in a global economy.

That is why Obama should ensure that his urban advisors adopt a broader metro focus by creating an advisory council that includes suburban members as partners."

Full Story: Message to President Obama: Do Not Forget the Suburbs



A Plea for the Status Quo?

Suburbanites have had their say, and look where we are... The point is to get people to move back into cities. I think allocating resources to the suburbs is counterproductive in achieving that goal. It undermines the move toward urban living by legitimizing and subsidizing suburban living. The Federal Government has already done plenty of that. The suburbs already have low taxes and if they want more resources, it seems obvious where to start.

It's first time in forever that we have an urban President, and it seems the suburbanites are complaining they don't have a voice... Sorry, but the nation's cities have long been neglected. It's time for an urban agenda, not a watered down "metropolitan" agenda.

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Cities, towns and rural areas are fundamentally different

Actually, I'd say it's more a result of America having a history of extolling the virtues of the small town, and ignoring the virtues of urban life. Suburbia is in many ways a result of trying to impose a small town feel and so-called small town values (as though city-dwellers are all a bunch of hedonistic jerks) on an urban area. What we've ended up with is a hybrid called suburbia that is a terrible compromise between city life and country life.

What we need in government are people who distinguish between urban and rural life, and understand that big cities, small cities, small towns and open country each have a role to play in modern life, that each one is distinct, and that each one needs to be develop and function as such.

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