Office of Urban Affairs Goals

Among the central principles of a new urban policy are the need to articulate national goals for cities and metropolitan areas, develop policies that advance those goals, and measure progress against them.

A new national urban and metropolitan agenda should advance the goals of competitiveness, sustainability, and inclusion: all pillars of national prosperity.

A focus on competitiveness fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, ensures investment in human capital, attends to the quality of both physical and technological infrastructure, generates high quality jobs and rising incomes, values quality of place and supports U.S. leadership in the global economy.

A focus on sustainability connects neighborhoods, cities and regions in a way that promotes energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive development patterns and ensures progress toward an energy-independent future.

A focus on inclusion promotes opportunity, fosters a strong and sustained middle class, and reduces racial and ethnic disparities in education, income and wealth that weaken the Nation.  It demands that the question of who is left behind be asked as policies are designed and programs enacted.

These three goals overlap and policies, and programs advancing one affect the others.  Within this context the role of the Federal Government is to: 

  • Lead -- because the major challenges in these three areas transcend geographic areas;
  • Empower metropolitan areas -- to enable them to develop local strategies, develop or expand integrated programs that capitalize on their assets and improve and expand the many effective efforts underway; and
  • Maximize performance -- through market mechanisms, encouraging partnerships between local governments and the private sector, and between cities and their natural regional allies.

Within this context, the Federal Government will build three elements into programs:

  • Integration -- bringing together all relevant agencies to combine policies, planning, program elements and resources to accomplish goals at the local level;
  • Flexibility -- acknowledging different local markets, conditions and priorities; and
  • Accountability -- ensuring that all actors are responsible for outcomes rather than process.
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