America's Most Urban President Should Embrace Its Cities

While he cannot do much to rewrite the Constitution, which favors rural America, or reverse a century of history, which gave rise to the suburbs, Obama, the most urban president, can do more to embrace the city as an innovation incubator.

According to Edward Luce, two-thirds of Americans live in the top 100 U.S. cities, which produce 90 percent of U.S. patents. "The better they do, the better the US will do," he writes.

Although the media may link America's nascent urban revival to President Obama, unlike his predecessors, he rarely seeks advice from local representatives like governors or mayors in office.

According to Ben Hecht, president of Living Cities, at a conference in Brazil, 15 of 16 countries were debating how to invest in upgrading their cities. The U.S. was the "odd one out."

Luce cites major recent infrastructure failures, such as the building that collapsed in Philadelphia or the bridge in Washington, lamenting Obama's inability to push through a public-private infrastructure bank.

However, the president can choose to recognize that cities are where most of American innovation happens, and begin to "own" their revival, writes Luce.

Full Story: Obama needs to embrace the promise of the city

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00