This was a busy week in the world of U.S. public policy and public affairs. Brush up on the week’s events with Five for Friday below.
1. Obama establishes the White House Office of Urban Affairs
Yesterday, Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing the White House Office of Urban Affairs. In the order, Obama stated that, “About 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, and the economic health and social vitality of our urban communities are critically important to the prosperity and quality of life for Americans.” Additionally, he explains that, “Vibrant cities spawn innovation, economic growth, and cultural enrichment through the businesses, universities, and civic, cultural, religious, and nonprofit institutions they attract.”
Indeed, cities can be vibrant and full of culture, but in order for this to happen, they must be planned accordingly. Fortunately, the fields of urban geography and urban planning concern themselves with just this. Can you think of any cities that really ‘strike you’ as centers of innovation and cultural enrichment?
2. The United States and Canada unite in a pledge for a “Green Energy” future.
In President Obama’s first foreign trip since taking office, he headed north to attend a joint news conference Thursday afternoon where he and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the two countries would work together on research and development to advance carbon reduction technologies and develop an electric grid that can deliver clean and renewable energy in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, discussions centered on how these new technologies can provide a boost to the ailing economy. Both Obama and Harper hope to reduce reliance on Canadian tar sands and U.S. coal-fired power plants due to environmental concerns. Obama added,” We can’t afford to combat these issues in isolation.”