According to Obama, the US federal government has retreated from US cities - something we pointed out in our joint report with the Brookings Institution earlier this year.
When he takes over on 20 January, Obama will refocus the White House on urban issues, with a new Office of Urban Policy.
The Obama Administration will:
- appoint a Director of Urban Policy, to co-ordinate all federal urban programmes
- increase funding for the Community Development Block Grant
- create a $200m federal programme to support innovation clusters
- strengthen community development financial institutions (CDFIs)
- create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank
- create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund
- revive the Department of Housing & Urban Development
- increase the Minimum Wage to $9.50 an hour (by 2011)
- expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and
- make existing buildings more energy-efficient
And those are just the highlights. Our research with Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Programme has set out how the US federal government could learn lessons from UK urban policy on this action plan, including a more generous minimum wage and working tax credit. And our recent report for the All Party Urban Development Group set out a number of practical steps to reduce the carbon footprint of existing commercial buildings.
I'll keep you posted on who Obama picks as his new Director of Urban Policy. Sounds like a great job...
Rory Bremner got onto my Edinburgh-London train this morning. Which got me wondering...how exactly will Rory manage to do Barack? He did a good job of George Bush, and has done John McCain before - but never done Obama (as far as I know). And he can't seriously (or humorously) make himself up to look like Obama. So we may be facing at least 4 years (or probably 8) of Barack-free Bremner.
PS here's Bird and Fortune on how the credit crunch started...
PPS I see that Rahm Emanuel is to be Obama's chief-of-staff. Back in 2002, when Emanuel was campaigning for his seat in the House of Representatives, I was invited to the Clintons' for one of his fundraising parties. He was a Bill and Hillary fan then, but cleverly switched to Obama during this year's primaries.