Inside Job

How the Obama Administration Is Reshaping Urban Policy

Story by Ben Adler

Photography by Eleanor Grosch

Published on Apr 30, 2012

Barack Obama went to Washington nearly four years ago on the support of the metropolitan vote. Voters knew that and so did the president. For that reason, it was no huge surprise when he created a new White House Office of Urban Affairs in February 2009, or when he appointed a widely respected New York City insider to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Yet as Obama approaches the end of his first term, it’s become clear that the administration’s most enduring impact in the urban realm may be a holistic rethinking about the way agencies work together. Political reporter Ben Adler takes a critical look at the inter-agency programs America’s most prominent former community organizer has put in place, examining results of these initiatives as well as their future in an increasingly partisan age. Adler analyzes what Obama has (and hasn’t) managed to get done, raising important questions about the policies and politics most crucial to the future of American cities. This story is a must-read for anyone who voted for Obama in the last election — and of course, anyone who didn’t.