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Archive: William Hudnut

New Cluster-Focused Models for Regional Growth and Collaboration

William H. Hudnut III / Dec 10 2011

For Release Saturday, December 10, 2011

William HudnutAs I listened to the dialogue at the Citistates Group’s Pocantico retreat in late October, I was impressed by the way the conversation about regional thinking and acting had shifted from structure to form, that is to say, from governmental fiat to organic growth. Here was a new paradigm!

Given the discouraging state of affairs at the federal and state levels of government, the creation of by the state legislatures of creative interjurisdictional mechanisms, or revised federal mandates, beyond what is already in place (MPOs and COGs, for example) is a pipe dream.

What then can stimulate real progress in affirming the reality, and recognizing the necessity, of regional cooperation? It’s the a focus on creating clusters of economic development opportunity. Clusters can grow organically, and do not need official action by government to happen. Harvard’s Michael Porter has famously described clusters as “geographically proximate groups of interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities.”
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The Obama Urban Vision: Can It Come To Pass?

William H. Hudnut III / Feb 01 2010

For Release Monday, February 1, 2010

William Hudnut An Indianapolis-area ex-CEO of a hospital group called me the other day — not about health care policy, but rather regional planning in central Indiana. He wasn’t interested in some way to force unified regional government — to expand the geographic scope of Indianapolis’ Unigov system, which Dick Lugar (now Indiana’s senior senator) founded in 1969-70 and I later led as mayor for 16 years. This ex-CEO’s concern was different: How do we get the region’s top players on the same page when it comes to such critical issues as land use, transportation and housing.

The call was heartening because it demonstrated to me how America’s business leaders are starting to grasp that in this new, mobile, wired age of ours, boundary lines are relatively meaningless and obsolete. And that some are willing to take the lead to create new ways of approaching regional problems–quite far ahead of most political leaders, I might add, who too often are little more than self-protecting institutionalists, or so rigidly ideological that pragmatism has fled them. Read More »

It’s Time to Wake up the Sleeping Giants

William H. Hudnut III / Jul 31 2009

For Release Friday, July 31, 2009

William HudnutSomewhere between 350 and 400 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) exist in the United States, and unless the rules get changed there may be 40 more after the next census.

So what are these beasts? Authorized by federal statute in 1962, MPOs are established by agreement of a governor and units of general-purpose local government. Their purpose is to bring together elected and appointed officials from different levels of government, plus (though it doesn’t happen often) civic leaders and professional planners, to create a “continuing, cooperative and comprehensive” planning process for the allocation of federal transportation dollars.

The Florida Transportation Plan (FTP) lays out the rationale for the creation of MPOs: “Increasingly, Florida’s economy is functioning at a regional scale as development spreads out from city centers and metropolitan areas grow together. The FTP identifies regional level coordination as critical to the process of making good decisions about transportation planning and programming.” So Florida has 26 MPOs. Read More »

Climate Change and Willie Mays

William H. Hudnut III / Apr 09 2009

For Release Sunday, April 12, 2009

William HudnutOK, what’s the connection–the climate change afflicting our globe and the man some call baseball’s greatest player of all time?

With a new baseball season opening, it’s also good season to ask that question.

For a powerful hitter, climate change is the natural world’s equivalent. Most of us have heard how rising sea levels and surges generated by more intense storms will cause flooding of roads, railways, transit systems, and airport runways in coastal areas. Increased rainfall will create severe flooding on transportation routes in Midwestern farmlands and towns. Heat waves can potentially increase wildfires in the Southwest that could destroy transportation infrastructure. Drier conditions in watersheds around the Great Lakes might reduce shipping capacity, strand barges on our great rivers, and diminish freight movement along the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Ohio/Missouri/Mississippi Riverways. Read More »

Enterprise’s Track Record: Mortgages That Work

William H. Hudnut III / Oct 23 2008

For Release Sunday, October 26, 2008

William Hudnut

In a column last July, my Citistates colleague Neal Peirce succinctly described federal housing policy as “a real mess.” Given the financial turmoil of the last two months, it’s accurate to say that the entire housing situation in the U.S. has slipped from bad to worse, with even the most optimistic industry analysts predicting little relief until 2010.

Yet even as mortgage delinquencies and defaults and home foreclosures soar, some stars of exception dot the sky. One especially bright one is Enterprise, the nationally acclaimed affordable housing investment and development organization formed in 1982 by legendary developer and community builder James Rouse.

Enterprise has persevered throughout bad times and good ones, raising more than $9 billion in private capital for the production of nearly 250,000 homes. The majority have been for people making no more than 60 percent of the median income for their communities.

The sterling track record is due, in no small part, to the leadership of F. Barton Harvey III, who retired as chairman of Enterprise last spring after a 24-year stint as a self-described “investment banker for the poor.” Under Harvey’s guidance, Enterprise’s impact grew from $200 million annually (enabling 5,000 units per year) to more than $1 billion raised and invested annually (creating 20,000-plus units a year). Read More »

“Hometown America” — Twenty Years and Waiting

William Hudnut and Charles Royer / Sep 25 2008

For Release Sunday, September 28, 2008

William HudnutCharles Royer

Just 20 years ago, as Michael Dukakis and George Bush were preparing their acceptance speeches for their respective nominating conventions, two mayors– one a Democrat from Seattle, the other a Republican from Indianapolis– sat down together in Washington to write a document entitled “Hometown America.”

Both writers had served as president of the National League of Cities. Together, they had undertaken a year-long, bipartisan fact-finding tour of the nation’s cities and towns.

And their message was straightforward. The presidential candidates should discuss local issues in their campaigns, because these issues were central and critical not only to America’s strength at home but also to our competitiveness in the world. Read More »