A favorite journalist

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I’m a big fan of journalist Neal Peirce. He received the Distinguished Urban Journalism Award from the National Urban Coalition for his outstanding contribution to the cause of America’s cities. His columns are syndicated to over 50 newspapers, so he has considerable influence. Peirce tries “to report the best–and worst–of what’s happening in our states and communities, to cross-fertilize ideas, to show the amazing new forces at work at the local level, even as the federal government retrenches.” Here is an index page for his columns going back six years. Below is from a recent column:

An open letter to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates:

When will you finally start talking about the issues that matter specifically to cities and metro areas that are home territory to 80 percent of America’s people?

. . .

Climate’s a mega-issue, finally getting a smidgen of White House interest. But real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will have to be focused at the metropolitan level where most energy is burned. More than 500 city leaders have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement initiated by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

But individual cities’ climate efforts won’t make much difference if neighboring jurisdictions just shrug their shoulders. Please, candidates, tell us how federal carrots and sticks could get all our localities working together for greenhouse gas reductions that really matter.

Week after week Mr. Peirce writes about issues that are central to fixing our cities. Here is from another recent column, on the complete streets movement:

Project for Public Spaces has some of the right advice for cities: “Stop planning for speed.” “Right-size” road projects in cities and suburbs to “reconnect communities to their neighbors, a waterfront or park.” And “think of transportation as public space” — roads, transit terminals, sidewalks, reconfigured to create pleasant environments, a true sense of place.