Bruce Katz · September 19
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
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 7
As many of you know from my work with Jeremy Nowak on The New Localism as well as previous newsletters, I regard this period as an era of profound shift in power and responsibility. We are moving from a system of 20th century problem solving that was top down, led by national governments and specialized, vertically organized agencies to a 21stcentury modus operandi that is bottom up and designed and delivered by horizontal networks of institutions and leaders across multiple sectors and disciplines.
Bruce Katz and Ross Baird · July 25
Eighteen months have passed since the Opportunity Zone incentive created a renewed focus on investing in America’s economically distressed neighborhoods. Through our respective work, in close collaboration with Accelerator for America, we have traveled to over fifty communities across the U.S. to understand and help implement pieces of this new way to invest in American communities.
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).