Next American City, Now's American City Advocates

Being a big fan of what Diana Lind is doing over at Next American City, I was honored to be invited by her to riff with her Next American Vanguard group, which is a hand-picked class of urban advocates from around the country. The discussion I was to lead was transportation and sustainability, and I had a blast getting out of the way and letting these young'uns hold court on their ideas and activities.

Given the central importance of the topic, the diversity of how it plays out in settings across the US, and the need for many messaging angles to get one's point across to so many different kinds of relevant stakeholders, it was particularly informative for me to hear so many interesting concepts from so many types of urban settings. I was heartened to hear that there are good people and good ideas in Des Moines, Fargo, and Nashville, and that a stimulating dialogue could touch on those places in the same breath as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. And I was heartened to see intelligent and driven young people wrestle through issues of equity and affordability, optimal pricing of scarce resources, and the politics of paying for it all.

So kudos to Diana for assembling such an esteemed and motivated group. Our cities face much in the way of challenges, but with young leaders like the ones I got to spend yesterday morning with, my optimism seems well-founded.

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