|The White House|
It is Wednesday and time for Blogger Candidate Forum. As President-Elect Donald Trump continues to build his administration, we turn our attention to his urban opportunities. Whether you believe our cities are the future or mess, Solomon Green and Erica C. Poethig point out in their CityLab article, "The Next President's Urban Opportunity," that the incoming administration can do a lot to aid American cities with or without Congress. Let us be honest, both the Senate and House of Representatives have a tendency to be very obstinate. Thus, relying on 535 people to come together and work together to better American cities is an act of divine intervention. Alright, that may be a slight exaggeration but over the last eight years, this esteemed legislative body has not had a great bipartisan track record.
The Great Recession forced young families to either postpone or avoid buying homes in the suburbs, and the demand for urban amenities has jumped as large employers and small startups move back to the urban center. Demographic changes over the next decades appear to indicate an accelerate the growth of cities, as millennial, aging baby boomers, and immigrants increasingly opt to make their home in urban communities.
|Montage of New Orleans, Louisiana|
However, if inequality is the most acute in the cities and throughout metropolitan areas, Mr. Greene and Ms. Poethig ask, "why hasn't either presidential candidate applied a distinctly 'urban' lens to the challenges of this growing problem? And how can the president we elect on Tuesday [this article was posted before the election] harness demographic changes and economic shits to reverse this trend and help reduce inequality in these places?"
|Leimert Plaza Park|
Los Angeles, California
From a pragmatic point of view, many of the policy initiatives that could be most effective in alleviating economic inequalities in cities-i.e. housing, education, land use, transportation, and economic development-are mainly, though not exclusively, controlled by state or local governments. Under the American federalist political system, and in context of the traditional local control in policy arenas, a more aggressive 'urban agenda' by a president could appear to be radical overreach.
|The President- and Vice President-elect|
|Baltimore Inner City|
|Downtown Athens, Georgia|
|Greenville, South Carolina|
Photograph by Dan Burden: PBIC
There are, of course, many more proposals that could go even further in promoting economic opportunity and mobility in cities, but that would require an act of Congress. One example is more funding for housing vouchers or major investments in repairing and maintaining the nation's infrastructure. Again, this would would require an act o divine intervention. The bottom line is, if we want to "Make America Great Again," the incoming Trump administration must make the case that "...with two-thirds of the nation's DP being generated in cities the economic future of our cities is also the economic future of our country."