BRUCE KATZ · August 7
Remembering Jeremy Nowak

As many of you know, my good friend and business partner Jeremy Nowak passed away on July 28th at the age of 66 due to complications from a heart attack.

There has been an outpouring of grief and appreciation in Jeremy’s beloved hometown of Philadelphia (Jeremy Nowak, 66, prominent Philadelphia investor, advocate, commentator by Chris Palmer & Diane Mastrull • He Will Not Rest by Larry Platt). And for good reason. Jeremy lived a remarkable life in the service of his city and, more broadly, disadvantaged places and people in the United States and beyond. He had a deep, unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · June 26
How States Can Maximize Opportunity Zones

Yesterday we released a policy brief entitled “How States Can Maximize Opportunity Zones”. The paper was written in concert with our good friends, Jamie Rubin and Dan Berkovits, under the aegis of The Governance Project, a new non-profit that aims to help state and local leaders leverage the private sector and private capital to deliver new solutions to critical challenges.

Our policy brief lays out a plan of action for states to realize the full economic and social potential of this unique tax incentive. To recount, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 provides a new incentive – centered around the deferral of capital gains taxes — to spur private investments in low-income areas designated as Opportunity Zones. Given the significant interest among investors, it is possible that this new tax incentive could attract tens of billions of dollars in private capital, making this one of the largest economic development initiatives in U.S. history.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · June 19
Opportunity Zones and Institutional Reform

The two of us have been spending the bulk of our time in hyper-invention mode. To maximize the potential economic and social impact of recently enacted federal tax incentives, Mayor Garcetti’s Accelerator for America has engaged us to create a new tool — an Investment Prospectus — to enable cities, counties and states to identify concrete investable projects and propositions in designated Opportunity Zones. We are using Louisville, Oklahoma City and South Bend as our test cases and we are grateful to Mayors Greg Fischer, David Holt and Pete Buttigieg and their teams for being co-creators.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · May 29
From Blue Sky to Blueprint

When we prepared the initial outline for The New Localism in late 2016, we included a chapter simply entitled “Blue Sky.” Our goal was to identify a series of concrete ideas for urban stakeholders — city governments, corporations, philanthropies, universities, investors — to raise and deploy large amounts of public, private and civic capital for transformative impact. What ultimately emerged was Chapter Nine, where we put forward a “provocative agenda for supporting and scaling up the most critical investments needed in cities in the areas of innovation, infrastructure, and inclusion.”

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · May 15
How Impact Capitalism Re-Discovers Place

Our book tour has included several events hosted by impact investors. A question that comes up in these forums: how does New Localism connect to the activity of intermediaries and investment strategies that have a social mission while also generating returns for private investors?

There is a very direct connection. And we want the connection to grow in depth and capital commitment. But for that to happen, there has to be more of a focus on place within the impact field – urban, metropolitan, and rural – than has presently been the case. It is possible that the newly legislated opportunity tax incentive may enable more of a place-oriented connection for impact investors.


Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · May 1
What’s Your City’s Mood?

In the final chapter of The New Localism, we recommended that each city and metropolis needed to ask the simple question “What’s Your City’s Edge?” as part of pursuing a growth strategy with inclusive, innovative and sustainable outcomes. This question appeals directly to the rising demand for data — and evidence-driven decision-making among constituencies that lead urban economic development. It is also a central question for those concerned with social mobility and neighborhood investment.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · April 17
On Brexit and the Devolution and Evolution of City Power

Our friends at Centre for Cities in London recently hosted a New Localism event at The Shard, Renzo Piano’s inspiring and imposing skyscraper on the south bank of the Thames. Being London, nothing was visible from the upper floors of the building given rain and fog on the evening of our gathering. But the discussion was illuminating nonetheless, which you can listen to here —

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · April 3
Seeing Networks Everywhere

At its core, The New Localism is a book about the rise of networks and networked governance as vehicles for problem solving. As we state in the Introduction:

The current suite of supersized economic, social and environmental challenges and the abdication of responsibilities by the federal government and many states demand new models of local governance. The most effective local governance occurs in places that not only deploy the formal and informal powers of government but create and steward new multi-sector networks to advance inclusive, sustainable and innovative growth. The logic is incontrovertible: if cities are networks of institutions and leaders, then institutions and leaders should co-govern cities. (emphasis added)

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · March 20
Seizing the Opportunity of Opportunity Zones

Over the past two months, we have visited 12 U.S. cities and counties as part of our New Localism book tour and met with public, private and civic leaders from dozens more.

In city after city, our discussions have quickly turned from a general synopsis of the themes and recommendations of the book to a specific discussion of a little-known tax incentive contained in the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that focuses on attracting private investment to distressed communities. Given the emphasis in our book on the importance of organizing civic and private capital, this was not unexpected.