With a variety of news outlets reporting that Barack Obama will form an Office of Urban Policy to coordinate the new administration's efforts on cities, this question looms: To what extent will architects and urban planners will be a part of that team? Will design issues get a hearing at the presidential policy table?
Chances are, they will.
It was Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, after all, who told reporters earlier this week that the urban policy team will be formed, fulfilling an Obama campaign promise. Although Jarrett was initially tone deaf to design issues when she served as Chicago's planning commissioner in the early 1990s, she proved to be a quick study. I vividly remember her critiquing low-income housing on Chicago's West Side for failing to align with the four-square Chicago street grid.