It's now less than a week before I return to Chicagoland for Christmas. A few finals, a train ride, and then I'll be in the heart of the city. I'll be cooking and, maybe, baking, and I'll be eating a lot. I'm not sure what my holiday will look like (I may end up spending a few days in Louisville, which would be an amazing, if tiring, trip), but I'll be sure to post on any interesting culinary experiences I have.
In other Chicago-related news, Obama named his HUD secretary today. As a long-time believer in the importance of cities as cultural and economic centers, and having watched in agony as the last two administrations pursued short-sighted and ultimately doomed policies, I hope that Mr. Donovan can take us in the new direction which we so desperately need to head. I am hopeful (imagine that!) given what Obama said:
"We cannot keep throwing money at the problem [of affordable housing], hoping for a different result. We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas, and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just won’t do. That means promoting cities as the backbone of regional growth by not only solving the problems in our cities, but seizing the opportunities in our growing suburbs, exurbs, and metropolitan areas."
Cities are the most economical way to house a large population: apartment blocks are energy efficient, as is the centralization of services and markets. The flight from urban centers by many in my parents' and grandparents' generations has taken a toll on the US that is becoming more and more apparent.