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.

Friday, November 07, 2008

My 3 Obama Adminstration picks

which have little to do with what could really happen, and are based by the back and forth commenting in previous entries:

1. Secretary of Transportation

Janette Sadik-Khan, currently director of transportation for New York City.

Why? She is helping to reshape the transportation-mobility paradigm around place--walkability, livability, great places--as well as great transit, and pushes better economic adjustments, such as congestion charging, to promote optimal mobility decisions and real trip pricing.

That closes out Earl Blumenaur, the great Congressman from Portland, where he served as Commissioner of Transportation, but I think that JS-K is pushing the next shift, whereas Earl B. pushed the last shift--mobility beyond automobility.

But where Earl B. was/is great is on the link between transportation and land use and economic viability of cities, Therefore:

2. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:

Earl Blumenaur (or Richard Daley or Michael Bloomberg).

This won't be likely. The Obama Administration will likely want to reward some local mayor, who unless it is Richard Daley of Chicago (he likely is uninterested) or Michael Bloomberg of NYC (likely really uninterested) won't be about transformation, but about bringing some bacon (money) back to cities.

Money is good. But vision and a transformational agenda is even better and frankly, what is required.

So Earl Blumenaur, Michael Bloomberg, or Richard Daley for Secretary of HUD.

With a refigured agency as I have mentioned before, around the idea of a

Department of Cities, Metropolitan Regions, and Urban Sustainability...

3. Director of the Federal Transit Adminstration:

Chris Zimmerman, Arlington County Board, Virginia.

Instead of having an anti-transit agenda, we want a pro-transit agenda in this agency. Instead of promoting buses, where appropriate, we want to promote and extend fixed-rail transit. And we want to consider the positive impact that transit can have on land use and reduce sprawl while improving walkability and livability. Plus, if oil prices go back up, and peak oil is real even if the economic downturn has led to a drop in oil prices, we have to plan for a future where mobility isn't dependent on privately owned automobiles, so we need transit planning and land use planning to be linked.

Therefore we need a director of the FTA who understands this.

I recognize this is a parochial suggestion, because I am unaware of similarly qualified people elsewhere because this (DC) is the region I know best...

Chris Zimmerman, currently an elected official on the Arlington County Board in Virginia.

He is the best, the A#1 publicly elected official in the Washington region in terms of understanding and advocating for transformational land use and transportation planning.

He (or someone exactly like him from another part of the country) should be the director of FTA under the Obama Adminstration.

(This is for you EE...)

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