Obama First Urban President Since 1881

Dallas Hansen writes in the National Post that unlike every other President since Manhattan lawyer Chester Arthur, Barack Obama gets cities.

Incredibly, for the first time in 127 years, we have a president whose primary residence sits where he can walk just minutes to shop for groceries, dine at dozens of restaurants, visit a museum or take a dance lesson. Unless he's leaving the neighbourhood, Obama can leave his Ford Explorer Hybrid parked at home. Or he can get downtown in minutes via the 6 Jackson Park Express or by hopping on the Metra commuter train. At least he could've until the mandatory motorcades.

Mother Jones

The 127 year thing might be a stretch- even Hansen notes that JFK spent a fair amount of time in Boston, but in the end made his primary home in Hyannis on Cape Cod.

Hansen concludes with a hopeful note that Cities might actually get some attention from this government.

Hyde Park represents the sort of "regional innovation cluster" Obama's Urban Policy seeks to promote. If his home neighbourhood has helped shape his vision for city neighbourhoods throughout America, we might indeed be in for an urban renaissance that outdoes even the last decade.

Commenters will complain that the Obama residence is a 6,400 square foot mansion that he got in a sweetheart deal, so let's just get over that now and recognize the fact that it is urban, that he doesn't have a country place to run away to, that he is part of the city in a way that American presidents have not been for a very long time.


National Post

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Tags: Barack Obama | Cities | Urban Life

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