Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama "in war" with suburban America?

POLITICS. In a meeting with U.S. mayors in the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama promised to back up his urban vision when he presents the budget next month. In his remarks (see video below) Obama said that his administration will focus on creating more liveable and environmentally sustainable communities.
“”Because when it comes to development, it’s time to throw out old policies that encouraged sprawl and congestion, pollution, and ended up isolating our communities in the process. We need strategies that encourage smart development linked to quality public transportation, that bring the communities together”, said President Obama.
While this sounds nice to advocates of modern urban life, conservatives in America seem to see this as a new battleground in their struggle against the Democratic President.
“A year into the Obama administration, America’s dominant geography, suburbia, is now in open revolt against an urban-centric regime that many perceive threatens their way of life, values, and economic future”, writes Joel Kotkin in The American, the journal of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington.
He sees Republican Scott Brown’s huge upset victory in the Massachusetts senatorial race earlier this week as a clear sign of this suburban revolt against Barack Obama.
Kotkin’s article was headlined “The War Against Suburbia”.

Hamburg voters give green light to Ikea

HAMBURG. Voters in the Hamburg district of Altona have given a green light to furniture giant Ikea's plans to open a full scale inner-city outlet in a pedestrian district, reports German daily Hamburger Abendblatt.
As we wrote yesterday, the Swedish retailer plans to open its first ever “City Ikea” in Hamburg. There have been widespread protests against the plans from people who fear traffic gridlock in the area. But a referendum held this week gave a strong “yes” for Ikea. According to Hamburger Abendblatt, 77 percent of voters were positive to the plans (62,421 voters voted yes, 18,480 voted no).