Bruce Katz · January 16
The Unanticipated Effects of Opportunity Zones

As many of us involved in cities know, the indirect effects of large policy changes are often more important than the direct ones. The development of cities in the latter half of the 20th century was driven more by the Interstate Highway Act (negative) and the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 (positive) than by any law with “Urban” or “City” in the title. The Opportunity Zones tax incentive is shaping up as another federal intervention with multiple, indirect effects.

Bruce Katz, Co-authored with Ross Baird · January 3
Welcome the New Community Institution

Happy New Year!

As many of you know, I (and a group of fellow travelers) have become virtually obsessed with building a new set of local institutions that align with our 21st century economy and society and unlock and deploy capital for a new kind of purposeful growth.

Bruce Katz, Co-authored with Evan Weiss · December 19
From Amazon Bids to Opportunity Zones

For the past year, US cities have been transfixed by Amazon’s intention to build a second headquarters. An incredible 238 cities prepared bids to woo the tech behemoth and, in many cases, offered a plethora of incentives, ranging from enormous tax abatements to infrastructure improvements, free land and special fiber broadband networks.

Bruce Katz · December 5
Prospectus Guide

Last week Accelerator for America and the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University released a policy brief entitled “Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus Guide.” The paper, co-authored by Ken Gross and myself, can be found here.

Bruce Katz · November 21
Creating Institutions that Work

On November 14-16, we held a “soft” launch of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University with a several-day hands-on working session among a high-level group of reflective U.S. and European practitioners.

Bruce Katz · November 5
Drinking from an OZ Firehose

With election fever rightly seizing the land, I have spent the past several weeks visiting six separate cities — Albuquerque, Cleveland, Dayton, Madison, New Orleans and Winston-Salem. This whirlwind travel has given me a chance to tour dozens of Opportunity Zones and get an on the ground feel for market condition, practitioner energy, investment possibilities and social challenges.

Bruce Katz · October 23
How Cities Maximize Opportunity Zones

Yesterday Accelerator for America and the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University released a policy brief entitled “From Transactions to Transformation: How Cities Can Maximize Opportunity Zones.” The paper, co-authored by Evan Weiss and myself, can be found here.

Bruce Katz · October 2
On Jane Jacobs and Opportunity Zones

I have been thinking a lot about Jane Jacobs recently and how her writing informs our thinking about metropolitan finance in general and Opportunity Zones in particular.

One of my favorite chapters in The Death and Life of Great American Cities is chapter 16, where Jacobs spelled out her views on “gradual money and cataclysmic money.”

Bruce Katz · September 20
Governing Opportunity Zones

As Jeremy Nowak and I wrote in a previous newsletter, realizing the full potential of the Opportunity Zone tax incentive will require a broad group of urban institutions to act with purpose and discipline. To that end, we began to ponder a set of steps cities could take to create a suite of modern institutions with the capital resources, public sector relationships, community standing, and private sector credibility to effect change.

Bruce Katz · September 5
Stirring Market Demand

As the Opportunity Zones incentive evolves, two dominant, overly simplistic narratives have taken hold.

On one hand, there is the view that all cities should merely compile and bundle a list of investable projects and reveal the true strength of the market for some distant investor on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley who have no connection to the city in question. This perspective treats the market failure that Opportunity Zones was intended to resolve as one primarily involving information and marketing rather than underlying business demand and market realities.