HUD eCon: Government Planning is Coming to Your Community
September 21st, 2012
HUD [U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development] is coming to a community near you with an upgraded toolbox of planning programs to support needs-driven, place-based decision-making and deepen informed public participation.
Why is HUD involved in your local community planning? Look no further than those irresistible HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants. They are just one of the keys that opens the door for the Federal Government to “leverage” their financial investment in your hometown.
Think that grant check is free? Think again. Integration of expanded community needs, increased mapping capabilities and planning templates all spell one thing, an unequal partnership between your community and the Federal government in which you and your public officials become minority shareholders.
On March 15, 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13602 authorizing HUD to “engage with and support local communities…” to provide assistance with “planning resources to develop and implement their economic vision and strategies.”
May 7, 2012 HUD rolled out the eCon Planning Suite and a week later the agency announced it would spend $70 million to teach grant recipients how to spend the money they have received. In other words, your “vision and strategy” will get a little help from the government. If this sounds like top down control, well, it is not supposed to. It’s just that it is.
This video may appear supportive, hi-tech and progressive, but consider this: HUD is a regulatory agency with the power to write rules that govern your locality leaving your public officials with little to do but settle wrangles over property boundaries. The agency has the ability to “guide” regionalization planning that bypasses local governments, define what type of planning is needed in your community and identify what is an effective or ineffective plan.
Nor does HUD work alone. In June of 2009, EPA, HUD and DOT formed the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This linking effectively integrated “Liveability Principles” governing the outcomes of community planning across the platforms of the three agencies.
The next time your community considers accepting grant money from the government, think twice. You may be engaged with one agency, but you are married to them all. Now eCon places HUD in the position to set the “matrimonial” rules for your community’s future.
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