Neil Abercrombie will never be saddled with the albatross that hung around the first President Bush — that he’s no good at “the vision thing.”

The governor’s “New Day” plan — his blueprint for Hawaii’s future — calls for full sustainability, a quality educational system and the restoration of public trust.

On Monday, Abercrombie riffed on a new idea, his boldest yet: a third city for Oahu, after Honolulu and Kapolei.

This city, which the governor said would stretch from Diamond Head to Kalihi and include Kakaako, Aloha Tower, downtown and Iwilei, builds on the proposal announced last month to construct a 650-foot tower in Kakaako.

The tower and its complex would provide affordable housing, commercial space, broadband capability and public transportation (including bicycles).

The Pohukaina public-private partnership, coordinated by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, is far from becoming reality.

Yet, Abercrombie believes it represents not only the future of Oahu but also responsible urban planning that is, a la Frank Lloyd Wright, as aesthetically pleasing as it is humanely functional.

“I have great hopes that we will create the next urban oasis in the United States, right here in Kakaako” he said.

Another ambitious proposal, to give the Office of Hawaiian Affairs $200 million in Kakaako Makai land to pay off ceded land revenue debt, fits into that urban vision. As does the creation of the Public Land Development Corporation, which was created to better use state lands.

A 21st Century Imperative

The third city, the governor said, would amount to a “renaissance of human dimension development and urban planning.”

That renaissance includes redeveloping Waikiki. If not, Oahu and Hawaii “can’t compete in 21st century travel venues.”

“Waikiki is in a state of decline,” he said.

Until now, planning in Honolulu has been “hit and miss,” he said.

Abercrombie came to Hawaii in 1959, a time when the primary hotels in Waikiki were the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider. Since his political career began in the early 1970s, he has seen and heard every development proposal that has come down the pike.

Today, Abercrombie has a proposal of his own.

“I believe there is an opportunity along the shore line to develop a combination of resort and urban-density environment that will literally form what amounts to a third city,” he said. “It will be on a human scale.”

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