Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Move the Senate to Alaska and the House to Miami

In an e-mail group discussion about the recent announcement by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah that the federal government should move agencies out of DC to be closer to the people ("Drain the swamp? No, let’s just move it, Rep. Chaffetz suggests," Washington Post), the best comment all day was:
Move the Senate to Alaska and the House to Miami (and leave the agencies in Washington)
There is a book out suggesting something similar, What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People, and I saw a presentation by the authors on Book TV.

The authors suggest moving agencies out of Washington to "get them closer to the people."

The response during the program, by public policy professor Donald Kettl politely eviscerated their argument.

Basically, we're not looking for "folk wisdom" to make and effectuate policy and regulation. Moving the agencies out into the rest of the country won't improve outcomes.

What about the agencies that are located outside of the Washington metropolitan area now (Social Security Administration and Center for Medicare Services are in Baltimore County; National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is in St. Louis; various military bases are located all across the national; federal research labs are mostly located outside of the DC area, etc.)

Agglomeration economies will be lost because connections and proximity between agencies will be discombobulated.

But since Congress isn't all that effective, why not move them, and leave the rest of the federal government here?



At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a great quote from our discussion partner... It will be interesting to follow this imbecilic trend to outsource DC governmental jobs out of the city as time goes on and generations change. My bet is that in another 15- 20 years the opposite will happen and a big move will take place to try to consolidate operations and centralize. It is also true that industry and corporate America has already begun this turnaround and now seeks to locate office headquarters in urban areas and cities again instead of Chaffitz's vaunted rural heartland.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

well, I think that in Alaska, the location for Senate should be in a remote place like Sitka, where they can experience the full throes of climate change.

Same thing for the House. Put them at the very end of the chain of islands that is Key West.


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