More than 25 leading journalists gathered in Cambridge last week for the Journalists Forum on Land and the Built Environment: The Next City, put on by the Lincoln Institute, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. The convening began with former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis on prospects for inter-city rail and transit in ther stimulus and federakl transportation funding, detailed by Alex Marshall from the Regional Plan Association here, as well as Angela Glover Blackwell, head of PolicyLink, who spoke on green jobs and equity in urban policy. Former Lincoln Institute board member Chip Case delivered a sobering but lively account on housing and the real estate market, written up by Roger Showley from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Blair Kamin's presentation on Burnham's Plan of Chicago held lessons for today, 100 years later, and Jeff Chapman from Arizona State University revealed a surprising array of unusual public finance instruments, including CFDs, COPs, GARVEEs, Tax Credit Bonds and New Market Tax Credits, as state and local governments struggle with both operational and capital costs. A highlight was Xavier de Sousa Briggs, associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, who provided insight on the Obama administration's efforts to rethink urban policy, as part of emerging new policies in sustainability, as well as the economic recovery. One particular challenge, he said, was cutting across the silos of federal government agencies "invented for 1977." "We cannot partner [with cities] better ... unless we're more integrated in how we function," he said. Douglas Foy, head of the energy consulting firm Serrafix, provided a useful list of ways to conserve energy, from hot water heaters to phantom loads to the clock on microwave ovens (which can't be turned off), and a vision for better codes, transit and parking systems. "Any city is an oil well, sitting on top of a huge energy source of waste," he said. Kirk Sykes, president of the Urban Strategy America Fund, shared the challenges of striving for the "triple bottom line" (environment, equity, and economic development) in the current downturn. Alex Krieger and Martha Schwartz from Harvard's Graduate School of Design concluded with a consideration of the global city, joined by Lincoln Institute visiting fellow Edesio Fernandes on informal settlement. Tim Halbur wrote a comprehensive report on it all on Planetizen.