Breaking Out of Silos and Across Borders

With interdepartmental cooperation blossoming within the Obama administration, Neal Peirce wonders how things will shake down when policies hit metropolitan regions -- and the municipal borders that can impede and confuse policy.

The separate governance of these municipalities can hold back progress, according to Peirce. Efforts to improve cross-departmental communication and cooperation at the federal level won't necessarily translate into the same level of cooperation at the local level.

"But even if silos are made less formidable, what of the thousands of borders that divide communities in our metro regions? Won't smart growth, "livability" agendas run a cropper if new transportation, housing, environmental initiatives are splintered into thousands of small government pieces?

The new White House Office of Urban Affairs has yet to follow up on the metro-wide focus for federal initiatives that the Brookings Institution and others have advocated and Obama explicitly endorsed in his presidential campaign.

But it's known to be mulling one lead idea: challenging governments and civic leaders across regions to come up with their own ideas for joined-up metro-wide transportation, energy, housing and environmental projects."

Full Story: An Overdue Breakout from ‘Silos,’ Borders


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