Urban Policy Working Group

The initiatives outlined share several important characteristics. First, these initiatives build on Administration priorities. Second, these initiatives embody both a holistic and integrated approach to urban policy --  an approach that appreciates that local and regional leaders often pursue interdisciplinary approaches to the highly complex and interrelated issues in their communities. Finally, these proposed initiatives recognize that our Nation’s challenges no longer fit neatly within neighborhood or jurisdictional borders, and that our national urban policy should be flexible enough to adapt to (and indeed should strengthen the connection between) the multiple geographic scales -- neighborhood, city, and metropolitan -- at which leaders act to address increasingly complex challenges.

1. Place-Based Policy Review

For the first time in decades, the Federal Government has been taking a comprehensive look at how its policies impact the way urban and rural areas develop and how well those places support the people who live there. This “place-based” approach is a long overdue effort to help places work better for people. Last summer, President Obama directed the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Urban Affairs to conduct a comprehensive review of federal programs impacting places, the first of its kind in thirty years. The review represented an important first step toward leveraging federal investments in an integrated way, on a regional scale, and in a particular place to have the most transformative impact. We are building upon the progress made last year by initiating the second annual place-based review of agency programs as part of the preparation of the President’s FY 2012 Budget. Our goal is to continue to apply placed-based principles to existing policies, potential reforms, and new and promising innovations with a particular focus on strengthening economic growth and achieving greater cost effectiveness.

Learn more about the Place-Based Policy Review.

2. Sustainable Communities Initiative

The goal of the sustainable communities initiative is to coordinate Federal policies, programs and resources to encourage and fully assist cities, metros and rural areas to build sustainable communities.  This will require aligning Federal transportation, housing, water and other environmental infrastructure, economic and environmental policies, programs and funding.  More specifically, it means Federal Agencies' actions and investments should measurably help our Nation’s communities and regions in making wise sustainable investment choices that will provide residents with a mix of housing options suitable for families of all income levels; support an array of transportation options that provide convenient and affordable access to jobs, education, retail and services; and prioritize development in existing communities, including infill development and Brownfield clean-up.

Learn more about the Sustainable Communities Initiative and their accomplishments and, in case you missed it, watch a live chat with the Sustainable Communities leadership. Also, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities.

3.  Regional Innovation Clusters Initiative

The purpose of the regional innovation cluster initiative is to spur the growth of quality, innovative jobs in key industry clusters in our metro areas.  It does this by building on the strongest industries, skills, and assets of a particular region, pursuant to an integrated plan developed by a regional consortium of leaders.  Every metro area specializes in particular traded clusters (e.g., organic farming, telecommunications, health care) that represent the array of large firms, small businesses, suppliers, research institutions, and others that together produce the exported goods and services that generate growth and opportunity.   Through interagency coordination, the Federal Government can incentivize the creation of integrated regional cluster plans and can support the implementation of these plans.

4.  Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative

The goal of this interagency collaborative is to create “neighborhoods of opportunity” throughout our cities and metropolitan areas by coordinating Federal policies and programs to design a holistic effort that will maximize life outcomes for low-income children no matter where they live, whether in inner city neighborhoods or struggling parts of older suburbs.  At its core, this effort would serve to align Federal housing programs (e.g., Choice Neighborhoods) with Federal education programs, health services, and public safety initiatives.  It will also be important to link these programs with those at other partner agencies, such as DOL to promote adult education and training, and DOT to connect to metropolitan-wide job and retail opportunities or maximize neighborhood benefits to transit-oriented development. 

Learn more about the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative's: