Bruce Katz and Andrew Petrisin · February 20
Why Ecosystems Matter: Lessons from Cincinnati

In my first newsletter this year, The Year of Advancing Community Wealth, I wrote the following,

“…we need to codify the new governance features and innovative practices used by leading urban institutions and intermediaries so we can speed replication horizontally across cities.”


Bruce Katz · February 6
The Allure of Mayor Pete

On Monday, Iowa gave a significant boost to the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Although the results (incredibly) are not final, Mayor Pete defied recent expectations set by the national media, political pundits and a raft of polls. His performance has prompted me to re-publish an oped that appeared in the Financial Times on December 15, 2019. The opinion piece was my effort to explain how a little-known mayor of a small city could ascend so quickly in in the scrum that is Democratic Party politics.

Bruce Katz · January 23
Climate, Community and Finance

In the early days of this year, we’ve both been heartened by the changing behavior of institutional investors towards climate: divesting from the bad and investing in the good.

Earlier this month, for example, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn launched the latest version of their Divest/Invest campaign to persuade cities to move pension fund investments out of fossil fuel industries. A growing number of cities around the world — New York City, London, Auckland, Berlin, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Oslo and Stockholm — have signed on and C40 Cities, the international group now led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, has released a high quality toolkit to guide city actions.

Bruce Katz · January 9
The Year of Advancing Community Wealth

A New Year is a time to plan, which is always a bit daunting for someone like me who likes to dabble, gets easily distracted and is always captured (if not obsessed) by the new and novel. But I did spend some time during the holiday break thinking about how to make 2020 The Year of Advancing Community Wealth, drawing upon the work that I have been doing with Ross Baird, Rick Jacobs, my colleagues at Drexel and a group of remarkable practitioners and organizations from around the country.

Bruce Katz · December 18
The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative has become a leading workforce model.

I am thrilled to co-author this newsletter with Megan Humes, a Senior Associate with the Centre for Public Impact (CPI), a nonprofit founded by Boston Consulting Group.

For the past several months, Megan and I (ably assisted by Dan Vogel at CPI and guided by Matt Bergheiser and Sarah Steltz at University City District) have conducted a City Case of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

Bruce Katz · November 27
The Most Transformative Project in America

In October 2018 I visited Dayton for the first time as part of an Opportunity Zones effort I had undertaken in partnership with Accelerator for America. I did not know then that Mayor Nan Whaley and Shelley Dickstein, her indefatigable City Manager, had a surprise in store for me. They and their colleagues took me for a tour of the Dayton Arcade, an historical gem that was on the verge of rebirth and renewal.

Bruce Katz · November 14
The Interplay of Public Investment and Private Wealth

Anyone who spends 10 minutes watching a Democratic presidential debate knows that we are living through a period of grand re-questioning. None of this should be surprising to urbanists, since cities are at the vanguard of solving the world’s toughest challenges (e.g., growing climate challenges, rising income, wealth, health and spatial disparities) from the bottom up. Given their lead position, cities around the world are re-examining conventional norms around growth, governance and finance and, in the process, creating the new urban social and sustainable contract.

Bruce Katz and Ross Baird · October 30
Community Wealth

On Sunday, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, Accelerator for America and Blueprint Local released Towards a New System of Community Wealth, a new paper by the two of us, Jihae Lee, and Daniel Palmer.

The paper makes some large observations and offers some big ideas for reform and transformation.

Bruce Katz and Dr. Suzet McKinney (CEO/Executive Director of Illinois Medical District) · October 17
The Illinois Medical District: Where Innovation Districts and Opportunity Zones Meet

On a visit to West Chicago earlier this year, the two of us had a chance to tour the Illinois Medical District and surrounding neighborhoods and participate in a discussion about Opportunity Zones organized by Accelerator for America and Anna Valencia, Chicago’s dynamic City Clerk.

The Illinois Medical District, or “The IMD” as it is popularly known, is the second largest urban medical district in the United States. Formed in 1941 by state legislation, it consists of 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotechnology business incubator, four major hospitals, two medical universities and more than 40 health related facilities. The IMD has more than 29,000 employees, 50,000 daily visitors and generates $3.4 billion in economic opportunity.

Bruce Katz, Luise Noring, Torben Klitgaard and Helle Lis Soholt · October 3
Scaling Copenhagen: How Cities Can Drive Climate Solutions

Dozens of mayors will descend upon Copenhagen next week for a meeting of C40, a network of the world’s leading cities committed to addressing climate change. The urgency of the gathering cannot be understated. With climate impact and climate advocacy on a meteoric rise, cities are at the vanguard of both mitigation and adaptation solutions. This is because many cities possess the powers and resources to reorient key sectors of the economy, particularly the energy, buildings and transportation sectors, that disproportionately drive carbon emissions. Cities also represent networks of public, private and civic leaders and institutions that are pragmatic at the core and less likely to be hijacked by partisan rancor and ideological polarization, the curse of our times.