Did you hear it at the very end of Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night? "Cities to rebuild" was the phrase, and it marked the closest the Democratic nominee came to discussing urban planning and land use.

I know, I know. I'm a land use nerd, and I'm well aware that the vast majority of land use decisions are made locally, not by the president. No one expects – or wants – the president to be a planner. But the federal government does have a big influence on what gets built where. Consider the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Consider all the money the federal government spends on transportation, housing and flood control. Consider that the federal government owns half the land in California.

Apparently all of this was not enough consideration to qualify for Barack Obama's acceptance speech. To be fair, no one expects John McCain to talk about inclusionary housing or mixed-use overlay zones, either.

Obama gave himself an opening when he talked about energy. He mentioned tapping natural gas reserves, "clean coal" technology and nuclear power. (So much for the environmental movement.) He also mentioned more fuel-efficient cars and investing "$150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels."

But he didn't address climate change directly, nor did he talk about the role that development, redevelopment and new construction techniques could play in reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Neither did the former community organizer in Chicago's South Side talk about specific inner-city needs. At the very end of his speech, Obama said, "America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done … Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save …"

And that was it. No real bone for us planning geeks to chew on. Ignored again.

– Paul Shigley