Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Obama's Place Policy and Geospatial - Focus on Collaboration

The concept of place-based policy has been emerging for years, and it's no surprise the Obama Administration has latched onto it given their community focus. Basically, place policies target the prosperity, equity, sustainability and livability of places - how well or how poorly they function as places and how they change over time. In some circles this is called "place-making".

This is a worthy goal, but it seems the initial "geospatial" reaction often is to shout, "What we have is broken!" However, it seems more reasonable to recognize the key aspect of place-based policy is to enable neighborhoods, localities, states and regions, and then ask the queston, "How can we build on what we have to help?"For geospatial information and tools the answer is likely not just how to make federal apparatus bigger and more integrated - but rather how to make it more collaborative with neighborhoods, localities, states and regions.

For example, geospatial information and tools supporting place-based policy can be maintained locally, closest-to-source - and federal investment could be provided to these local levels where the expertise and data creation responsibilities reside. With this type of collaboration national spatial data infrastructure standards and interoperability are key.

Why do all this? Just look at the agenda - fostering homeownership through neighborhood-based approaches, supporting public safety, advancing environmental health, etc - it can't be effectively implemented without shared local to national geospatial knowledge.

- Jeff


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