Urban Fold

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

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