Bruce Katz · July 11
Over the past several months I have become intensely focused on how anchor institutions can work harder for the cities where they are anchored. Here is a piece I authored for The Future of Universities Thoughtbook about the role universities should play by the year 2040. The book should be published by the end of August.
Bruce Katz · June 26
Yesterday the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University released the first in a series of City Cases: Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine: A Private Led Model for Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods.
Creation of this series was a high priority of Jeremy Nowak and myself in starting our new venture at Drexel, now (unbelievably) a year old. We believed that cities, given their immense and growing responsibilities, require new governance and finance models that organize public, private and civic capital in novel ways. Most 20th century institutions, frankly, are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of our times. They are too tired, too compartmentalized and too narrowly focused (on “housing” or “convention centers” or “stadia” or “community development”) to take the holistic view necessary to drive transformative change.
Bruce Katz · June 13
As the 2020 campaign takes hold, Democratic candidates have been issuing ambitious proposals about the platform role of the federal government: helping people live productive lives via a robust and secure safety net and (mostly) enhanced investments in health care and housing. We have been hearing much less about how the federal government helps places build prosperous futures by mobilizing the energies and expertise of sub-national players like states, counties, cities, universities and non-profits around issues like innovation, infrastructure and climate change.
Bruce Katz · May 30
Over the past several months, I have been working with a disparate group of colleagues on two signature studies. Julie Wagner, Tom Osha and I have been writing an update to the 2014 report, “The Rise of Innovation Districts,” in collaboration with the new Global Institute on Innovation Districts. At the same time, Karen Black, Luise Noring and I have been preparing an analysis of Cincinnati’s Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), in collaboration with Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Accelerator for America. Both reports are near completion and will be released in June.
Bruce Katz · May 16
In 1969, the Indiana state legislature consolidated the city and county governments of Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County. In one act, “Unigov” increased Indianapolis’ population by about 250,000 and its land area by about 275 square miles, establishing it as one of the top U.S. cities (its population of 863,000 in 2017 made it the 16th most populous city in the United States).
Bruce Katz · May 2
As I engage with dozens of communities around the country on Opportunity Zones, I am often asked “Where are the philanthropies?”
The question is rooted in some simple math and hard market realities. The Opportunity Zones tax incentive could generate tens of billions of dollars in market equity investment in low-income communities, which could, in turn, leverage hundreds of billions of dollars more in conventional lending, concessionary capital and public subsidy. Most Opportunity Zones are in desperate need of such investments given their high rates of poverty and vacancy and the absence of businesses and business demand. Yet there is a disconnect today between the orientation of capital allocators (who have access to countless tax advisors, accountants and lawyers) and community advocates (who are more familiar with policy or subsidy driven tools).
Bruce Katz · April 17
Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a Request for Information, seeking public guidance on how HUD can leverage the economic and social impact of Opportunity Zones. As part of the Request, HUD crunched the numbers and revealed the remarkable way in which Opportunity Zones overlap with public and assisted housing, home to millions of low-income Americans.
Bruce Katz · April 3
Over the past ten days, I have been in Israel and the United Kingdom exploring how to adapt US market dynamics and tools — innovation districts, opportunity zones, city investment prospectuses — to foreign shores. As often happens when I leave the United States, a trip abroad has sharpened my sense of the special assets that America possesses at home and some of our keenest liabilities.
Bruce Katz · March 20
On Monday, Accelerator for America, Drexel University’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab, the Economic Innovation Group and The Governance Project hosted a packed Opportunity Zone Investor Summit at Stanford. The Summit celebrated a milestone: over the past year, 27 cities have used a common template to design Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectuses to help communicate their assets and unveil projects that are investor ready and community enhancing. While cities have largely constituted the first wave of Prospectus adopters, the tool is already being applied at the metropolitan and neighborhood scales and could form a useful tool for states and rural counties.
Bruce Katz and Ross Baird · March 7
Our continued visits to Opportunity Zones across the country (most recently Austin, Dayton, Kansas City, Norfolk, Baltimore, and San Antonio) and our conversations with literally dozens of practitioners reinforce our sense that the new federal tax incentive is (unexpectedly and slowly) driving the creation of a new system of community economic development. The process of invention is messy, haphazard and chaotic even by U.S. standards, made more complicated by the fact that a new class of investors and a relentless market orientation has been introduced into a system that has been largely dominated by a closed loop of actors motivated by either federal bank regulation or social impact.