by Bruce Katz and Scott Bernstein · February 1
Rethinking Supply Chains for an Industrial Age

One of the lasting images of the pandemic period is of ships carrying goods from Asia stuck off the coast of California. The images prompted a burst of heroic federal action and the term “supply chains” became embedded in the public consciousness.

As with many things in the US, the pandemic images have receded into memory. But supply chain issues and the inefficiencies of our logistics sector persist, complicated by a surge in work-from-home and shop-from-home behavior as well as the reshoring of production driven by national security concerns and climate imperatives. And now, on top of these seismic shifts, we are encountering a rising conflict in the Red Sea and drought challenges facing the Panama Canal.

by Bruce Katz · January 18
How Cities Can Thrive in the New Industrial Era

Note: This newsletter was initially published by Governing Magazine on January 17, 2024

Fueled by macro dynamics and unprecedented federal investments, the reshoring of advanced manufacturing is happening at a pace and scale that would have been inconceivable even three years ago. As a result, in many respects the hierarchy of American metros is being reset.  If the decade between the Great Recession and the pandemic seemed to be all about “superstar” tech cities, many of the winners in the remote-work era are going to be places that make tangible things.

by Bruce Katz, Michael Belles and Bryan Fike · January 11
Innovative Capital for Small Businesses: The Rise of Revenue Based Financing

Since we launched the Innovative Finance Playbook in November 2022, Catalyze and the Nowak Metro Finance Lab have been assessing Revenue Based Financing, or RBF, as a tool to help address the capital gaps and deficiencies laid bare by the COVID pandemic; namely, the 83% of entrepreneurs who do not access traditional bank debt and venture capital. We recently released a report sharing our findings entitled “The State of Revenue Based Financing and CDFIs.”

by Bruce Katz and Bryan Fike · January 5
Will 2024 be a Year of Financial Innovation?

The pandemic and post-pandemic period have been defined in many respects by capital. Beginning with the CARES Act and continuing with the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, this capital period has seen the federal government dedicate trillions of public resources for a broad set of activities, initially related to rescue and recovery (a focus on preserving existing businesses and communities) in 2020-2021 and then economic transformation (an industrial/energy transition of monumental proportions) in 2021-2023.

by Bruce Katz · December 21
The Unplanned Metropolis

In War and Peace, Tolstoy famously observed that “Nobody was ready for the war which everyone expected.”

I was reminded of this quote when reviewing many of the newsletters published this year. As readers know, this platform returns again and again to the wicked challenges that cities and metropolitan areas face during this disruptive post pandemic period. (It’s difficult to say “post” when COVID seems to be raging again, but so be it).

by Bruce Katz, Benjamin Weiser, AJ Herrmann, and Ross van Dongen · December 7
Emerging Projects Agreements: A New Kind of Federal-City Partnership

Since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021, the Biden Administration has championed unprecedented federal investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing. While the scale of federal investment has continued to grow, a disconnect between federal organization and local community operation has persisted.

by Bruce Katz, Deborah Carroll, Michael Pagano, Avanti Krovi and Frances Kern Mennone · November 16
Weathering The Coming Fiscal Storm: An Emergency Proposal

Three years after the first wave of the pandemic, remote work is challenging the role and function of central business districts in the United States. This disruption has already pushed down transit ridership and revenues in major US cities and metropolitan areas: it is now triggering general concerns regarding the urban fiscal health of cities since central business districts and downtowns typically generate a disproportionate share of municipal tax revenues.

by Bruce Katz, Bryan Fike, and Colleen Dougherty · November 2
Small Business Federalism: the State Small Business Credit Initiative

It is a curious moment for small businesses in America. More than three years after small businesses were a key pillar of the initial response to COVID-19, small businesses are now grappling with third and fourth order consequences from the pandemic. Supply chain challenges and labor market issues remain. Inflation, while easing, remains high. And today’s elevated interest rates meant to stem inflation have brought about a credit crunch and increased borrowing costs. In venture capital markets, we are witnessing a pullback in activity.

by Bruce Katz · October 26
Books for our Times

As readers of this newsletter know, my attention has recently turned to the profound macro forces that are reshaping our nation and the world. As an urbanist, I am interested in the interplay between the macro and the metro and the ways in which large, disruptive transnational forces (e.g., rising tensions with China, the existential threat of climate change, the accelerated pace of technological advances, the dissembling norms of democracy) come to ground and affect the shape of communities and the lives of people.

by Bruce Katz, Milena Dovali and Victoria Orozco  · October 19
The Defense Dividend and What it Means for Cities

For the past 30 years, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the notion of a “peace dividend” took hold in the United States.  To use an old metaphor, less funding for guns meant more resources for butter.