Three big themes animate the Obama Administration's emerging urban policy framework: competitiveness, equity of opportunity, and sustainability. These themes recognize that the well-being of urban places and the welfare of people are inextricably linked. To achieve the new Administration's urban policy vision, enormous challenges must be overcome including jurisdictional balkanization, federal budget pressures, and macro trends whose long-term impacts can't be fully anticipated. In the face of these challenges, the research community has an opportunity to contribute hugely to the realization of the new urban agenda, but only if we are prepared to make our work genuinely useful to policymakers.
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