by Bruce Katz, Milena Dovali, Avanti Krovi and Victoria Orozco · May 12
The Industrial Transition and the US Metropolis

By all accounts, the post pandemic period in the US is characterized by a remarkable industrial transition. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, the war in Ukraine, and rising tensions with China, macro forces and ample federal investments are prompting the re-shoring of advanced manufacturing and, relatedly, an accelerated decarbonization of the US economy.

by Bruce Katz, Lori Bamberger, Florian Schalliol, and Brian Reyes · April 20
How Communities Can Maximize the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) is the largest legislative effort in U.S. history designed to accelerate the country’s transition to an alternative energy and climate future. This Act is remarkable not only for its ambitions but for its disproportionate reliance on tax incentives, a fundamental difference in structure from other Biden era legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. A community hoping to maximize the value of IRA funding will need to organize networks of beneficiaries, intermediaries, and stakeholders in ways that integrate areas of practice (e.g., renewable energy, talent preparation and housing development) that are often kept separate and distinct.

by Bruce Katz, Milena Dovali, and Anne Bovaird Nevins · April 14
Data Deficit: Flying Blind on Small Business

In this time of intense polarization, it is rare to find an issue that both sides of the political spectrum can agree on. But small businesses seem to be one of the few exceptions. President Joe Biden has been a vocal champion of small businesses, emphasizing their importance as “the engines of our economic progress… the glue, the heart, and soul of our communities.” And Senator Marco Rubio, who led the Small Business Committee during the pandemic, has repeatedly emphasized the crucial role that small businesses play in job creation and the overall health of the economy. Despite this widespread support, there is still a critical missing piece: a consistent and robust data platform for small, diverse businesses.

by Bruce Katz, Max Nathanson, and Chelsea Gaylord · March 30
Can the UK Level Up? Early Signals and Key Lessons from the US

One of the most intriguing questions to emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic is whether the confluence of seismic forces will disrupt the seemingly intractable pre-pandemic concentration of growth and prosperity in a small set of cities and metropolitan areas. These forces include the global health crisis itself but also Russia’s war in Ukraine, rising tensions with China, and the return of nation-shaping industrial policies.

by Bruce Katz, Florian Schalliol, and Milena Dovali Delgado · March 16
Navigating the Maze: Drexel’s Federal Funding Tracker

Localities across the country are now all too familiar with the refrain: a lot of money has been made available by the federal government, but getting your hands on it – and putting it to good use locally – is akin to navigating a maze in the dark. In our recent work tracking and analyzing hundreds of federal funding opportunities, we’ve gained a unique look into this maze and how cities are making the most of the moment. In this newsletter, we highlight our new Funding Tracker Tool (developed by Florian Schalliol) and 5 tips for localities to seize the moment.

by Bruce Katz, Michael Saadine and Ben Preis · March 10
A National Commission on Solving the US Housing Crisis: An Urgent Proposal

In March 1988, 35 years ago almost to the day, a high-profile National Housing Task Force released a stirring report entitled A Decent Place to Live. The Task Force, headed by James Rouse, the famed Baltimore developer and founder of the Enterprise Foundation, and David Maxwell, the CEO of Fannie Mae, explored and elevated the nation’s housing challenges and recommended an ambitious 10-point program to provide housing opportunity. Its focus was primarily on federal policy reform, in large part as a response to the dismantling and de-funding of housing programs during the Reagan years.

by Bruce Katz, Ben Preis, and Kevin Gillen · March 2
“We Buy Houses”: You Lose Out

Last year, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab, Reinvestment Fund, and Accelerator for America published a report: Investor Home Purchases and the Rising Threat to Owners and Renters. The Lab’s report highlighted the disconcerting trends of investors large and small buying up residential properties, changing neighborhoods, and harming homeowners, homebuyers, and tenants. In Philadelphia, Jacksonville, and Richmond — which was the scope of the study’s data collection efforts — the results indicated that investors were most active in distressed neighborhoods: areas with low mortgage lending, low-incomes, and disproportionately large non-white populations. In December of last year, Bruce Katz presented these findings as part of a Housing and Urban Development event on Institutional Investors on Housing.

by Bruce Katz · February 16
Can Cities Defy Fiscal Gravity?

I was a major consumer of Saturday morning cartoons in my childhood.

My favorite, by far, was Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. The plots were as simple as they were effective. Coyote would chase Roadrunner across deserts and mountains, concocting elaborate schemes to ensnare the fast-footed bird. The schemes always failed, with Coyote usually flying over a high cliff, realizing that he was suspended in midair, looking at the camera with an air of surprise and panic and then plummeting to the bottom of the abyss.

by Bruce Katz, Egon Terplan, Chelsea Gaylord, and Kevin Myers · January 27
Experimenting at the Metropolitan and Regional Scale

This newsletter has a longstanding affinity for metropolitan and regional thinking and action. As laid out in The Metropolitan Revolution (the 2013 book co-authored with Jennifer Bradley), metropolitan areas and their broader regions have emerged as the driving units of the global economy and the appropriate geography for solving cross-jurisdictional challenges like climate, economic competitiveness, housing, transportation, and workforce. The book extolled efforts in places as disparate as Cleveland, Denver, and Houston to bring governance into alignment with the reality that economic, environmental, and social challenges, alone and together, do not respect artificial, administrative boundaries. For these challenges, the geography of “real world” solutions are metropolitan in scale, even if general purpose local governments and specialized public authorities are bounded and fragmented.

By Bruce Katz, Ian O’Grady, and Bryan Fike · January 19
The State Small Business Credit Initiative: Where We Stand

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, small business has served as the focal point of relief efforts, from the earliest local relief funds and the Paycheck Protection Program, to a total of $1 trillion in relief disbursed by the Small Business Administration. These funds, though enormous in volume, exposed the deficiencies of our existing capital systems when it comes to serving small and marginalized entrepreneurs and enterprises.