National Conversation of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas

“Instead of waiting for Washington, many of our cities have already become their own laboratories for change, some leading the world in coming up with innovative new ways to solve the problems of our time - President Barack Obama, July 13, 2009

 President Obama knows that Washington doesn’t have all the answers. He knows that communities across America are finding innovative, cross-cutting solutions to strengthen their neighborhoods. They’re making their neighborhoods safer, improving education for their kids, and connecting marginalized communities to opportunities.

In July 2009, President Obama charged the Office of Urban Affairs to get outside the beltway and visit cities implementing successful solutions to urban problems. The National Conversation of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas, or the “Urban Tour,” serves two main purposes:

  1. Communicate the President’s vision and priorities for Urban and Metropolitan America;
  2. Identify best practices and innovative policy reforms for the Administration.

The National Conversation is an important illustration of the Administration’s commitment to Urban and Metropolitan America, and reflects the Administration’s bottom-up approach to reshaping the Federal-urban partnership.  The tour approaches urban-metro regions as assets, and highlights innovations that are interdisciplinary and that are to the benefit of entire regions.  The ultimate goal will be to explore innovations that can be taken to scale.

Each stop on the listening tour focuses on a theme or set of themes that is grounded in the interconnected nature of issues impacting Urban and Metropolitan America.