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.

Bruce Katz · September 19
Street Fight

The other night I re-watched Marshall Corry’s 2005 documentary, Street Fight, about the 2002 Mayoral race in Newark, New Jersey that pitted Cory Booker versus Sharpe James. I highly recommend this film: you will get the full measure of Cory Booker not only as an exceptional leader but as an individual accustomed to battling long odds.

The title of the documentary prompted this newsletter. There is another street fight underway in the United States between major forces: small business versus big box, owner-occupants versus absentee landlords and quality versus parasitic capital.

Bruce Katz · September 5
Too Big to Function

During the depths of the Great Recession, the jargon “Too Big to Fail” became commonplace jargon in the effort to restore order to a financial system run amok. The consolidation of financial power has multiple implications. During my exploration of Opportunity Zones, I have observed a fundamental disconnect between the compartmentalized lending and investment practices of large financial institutions (and silo-driven federal and state governments for that matter) and the small, integrated but still nascent regeneration efforts of innovative practitioners in urban communities. I call this disconnect “Too Big to Function.”

Bruce Katz · August 22
Solving for Capacity

Several months ago, in a paper I wrote for the Knight Foundation (download paper), I identified the lack of local capacity as one of the major barriers to Opportunity Zone success.