Florida to Obama: Establish a Department of Cities

Lamenting the lack of a single big, transformative urban idea during President Obama's first term, Richard Florida urges the president to establish a new cabinet-level Department of Cities to build a "lasting urban legacy."
Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons

"President Obama has signaled that he will focus in a second term on immigration, gun control and climate change. All these issues are important, but none is as critical to his long-term legacy as helping chart a more livable, prosperous and creative course for the future of American cities," argues Florida.

"Cities and metros are the engines of our economy. America’s 50 largest metros house two-thirds of our population but produce three-quarters of our economic output. Just 20 of them generate almost two-thirds of our innovations. As dysfunctional Washington has faltered, our cities have become laboratories for pragmatic bipartisan policy innovation, pioneering new approaches on everything from schools, crime and gun control to economic development."

"If the President takes the lead, the products of those urban laboratories can be harnessed, their progress accelerated."

Florida outlines how a Department of Cities could direct federal investments strategically to improve infrastructure, encourage bike lanes, pedestrian zones and mass transit, build more affordable housing, drive job creation, and strengthen our nation abroad.

Full Story: Obama, build a lasting urban legacy

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