July 18-19, 2013 National Summit on Inclusive Suburbs and Sustainable Regions

The July 18-19, 2013 Building One America Summit on inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions highlighted the common challenges facing our country’s older, diverse communities.

In addition to Building One Pennsylvania, 11 states were represented at the summit, which brought local leaders from towns, schools, business, labor and faith communities together with experts and federal policymakers from the White House and Congress to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique but common challenges around housing, schools, and infrastructure facing America’s metropolitan regions and its diverse middle-class suburbs.

A congressional reception was attended by 14 members of Congress, including Richard Hanna (R-NY), Transportation and infrastructure; Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Appropriations; Peter King (R-NY), Financial Services; and Jim Renacci (R-OH), Ways and Means; Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Transportation and Infrastructure; Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Ways and Means.

Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette, who now heads the Republican Main Street Partnerships, served as a keynote speaker in the summit, affirming that the challenges facing local government are bi-partisan issues, and pledged to work with BOA to build support for investment in infrastructure.

Breakout sessions on schools, housing, sewer and water infrastructure and transportation were attended by practitioners and policy-experts. There, our effort to secure a Southeastern Pennsylvania Housing Mobility Program was lifted up as a national best practice for building bi-partisan support for promoting stable, inclusive suburbs.

Key members of the Obama administration – including Gred Nadeu, deputy administrator of Federal Highway Administration; Salin Gevarghese, acting direct of the Sustainable Communities Initiative; John Frece, EPA Office of Sustainable Communities; and Paulette Aniskoff, White House Director of Public Engagement – were engaged around how the federal government can better support inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions.

David Rusk, a Building One America board member and national expert on regionalism, proposed a unified and unifying policy agenda. The summit ended with commitments to build and train strong networks of local leaders within metropolitan regions and states. In Pennsylvania, leaders set goals of convening regional summits in Southeastern and Southwestern Pennsylvania in the spring of 2014 to present issues for action.