Monday, August 27, 2007

The Promise of Leadership

Throughout the morning session, summarized so well by Jeff in the next post, shows the need for leadership at all levels. All of the speakers at one point or another championed the need for individual and agency leaders to help with coordination. Francis Cheung's presentation on the Netherlands showed how a clear set of national and international priorities can shape integrated land use and transportation planning. Reflecting back on the experience in the United States presented by the other speakers, I was struck by how piecemeal and fragmented the coordination and leadership is in this country. While much of this is due to our history and federal system, I wonder what a strong set of national policy objectives, such as those that have been articulated in the Netherlands or in England, could do for this country.

Some questions to consider:

  • Can we set a national agenda around growth, development, infrastructure, and the environment?
  • How can we develop the leadership at all levels--city, region, corridor, state, and nationally--to push us forward?
  • How do we move beyond the piecemeal approach to a more systematic coordination?
All of the presentations offered case studies and best practices, which will be valuable in this regard. But maybe it has to start with leadership at the national level.

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