BeyondChron: Did Obama Fail Urban America?

By Randy Shaw

Urban Policy in the Time of Obama (James DeFilippis, editor)Donald Trump’s pledge to cut federal funds to sanctuary cities now frames the agenda of urban America. But before we move on to Trump, and in order to create a better post-Trump future, consider President Obama’s legacy toward cities.

As much as many of us love and admire Barack Obama, his record on such key urban issues as housing, transportation, education and poverty was disappointing. The most urban-oriented President to take office since John Kennedy or perhaps Teddy Roosevelt delivered surprising little to the struggling residents of America’s cities.

Yes we can blame Republican obstructionism. But President Obama never unveiled an urban vision akin to LBJ’s “Great Society.” Nor did he even try to make the crisis of cities a top public priority. As James DeFilippis, editor of an important new book, Urban Policy in the Time of Obama, puts it, Obama’s urban initiatives were “all fairly small, modestly funded, and low profile.”

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