FY 2011 Budget: Place-Based Policies


“All politics is local,” goes the saying.  And that is particularly true when the government says the population will increase by 140 million by 2050.  Where will they all live, work, shop, and play?

The White House is developing a plan.  A little-noticed memo on place-based policies for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget – co-signed by the heads of OMB, the Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council and Office of Urban Affairs – promotes interagency coordination in place-based planning and spending.

The memo directs agencies in their budget preparation process for FY 2011 (to be submitted to OMB by September 14) to “identify the top three to five programs or initiatives that . . . show special promise for achieving better outcomes, whether a place-based approach is well established or is newly proposed.”  It also asks agencies to identify associated measurable outcomes, indicators of progress, and options for improving coordination and effectiveness.

As guidance, the memo offers agencies three principles to follow:

  • Use measurable goals. Clear, measurable and carefully evaluated goals should guide investment and regulation.  Goals should be transparent and widely and effectively shared in areas such as economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, community health and access, and safety and security.
  • Be community-centric.  Change comes from the community level and often through partnership.  The Administration commits to “break down Federal ‘silos’ and invest in such as way that encourages similar coordination at the local level.”  Agencies should engage others as collaborators with ”shared agendas for action, strategies that are smart, success measures that make sense, and implementation focused on results.”
  • Be regional in approach.  Many important challenges demand a regional approach.  Federal investments should promote planning and collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries.

The memo notes that Vice President Biden is “already working to put these principles to work in the implementation of the Recovery Act” and that he has initiated a Community Impact program that brings agencies together to consider the place impact of Recovery Act investments.  It also notes that “Federal partners meet weekly to assess progress and consider next steps in spurring community progress.”

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3 Responses to “FY 2011 Budget: Place-Based Policies”

  1. Norman M. Macdonald Says:

    This is similar to the approach I took when I was assigned by the Forest Service to the Reinventing Government effort ten years ago. I was detailed to the National Performance Review in the Office of the Vice President and we had the authority to wave any local regulation that was not backed by a public law or the CFR. Just having the authority opened many doors and the interesting thing that most things were neat stuff done in the “back room”or in quiet collaboration. This approach is the only way to go. Much of the neat stuff is surviving and morphing in interesting ways.

  2. Tom Seekins Says:

    Given that this initiative is two years old and much has changed, I wonder if it is still active.

    I hope it is. It suggests a future oriented approach to enriching the quailty of life in the United States while building economic security.

    I am interested in any continued efforts to which I might contribute.

    • John Kamensky Says:

      Tom – I did some checking and it does seem like there is more to this than just the 2009. There’s a June 2010 status update by the White House Office of Urban Affairs, reporting on the status of a governmentwide inventory of initiatives (which was requested by the 2009 memo), and steps being taken from there. For more current info, you can probably contact the White House staffer who seems to be responsible for this, Derek Douglas.

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