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.

BRUCE KATZ · August 22
Rethinking Capital and Geography

The enactment of the Investing in Opportunity Act and the designation of Opportunity Zones across the United States compels cities and investors to rethink the interplay between sub-city geographies and private capital.

Consider this: US cities have evolved along distinct demographic, economic and cultural lines but have followed similar development patterns over the past 100 to 150 years. As Chris Leinberger and others have shown, a familiar set of urban archetypes have emerged across cities.

BRUCE KATZ · August 7
Remembering Jeremy Nowak

As many of you know, my good friend and business partner Jeremy Nowak passed away on July 28th at the age of 66 due to complications from a heart attack.

There has been an outpouring of grief and appreciation in Jeremy’s beloved hometown of Philadelphia (Jeremy Nowak, 66, prominent Philadelphia investor, advocate, commentator by Chris Palmer & Diane Mastrull • He Will Not Rest by Larry Platt). And for good reason. Jeremy lived a remarkable life in the service of his city and, more broadly, disadvantaged places and people in the United States and beyond. He had a deep, unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · June 26
How States Can Maximize Opportunity Zones

Yesterday we released a policy brief entitled “How States Can Maximize Opportunity Zones”. The paper was written in concert with our good friends, Jamie Rubin and Dan Berkovits, under the aegis of The Governance Project, a new non-profit that aims to help state and local leaders leverage the private sector and private capital to deliver new solutions to critical challenges.

Our policy brief lays out a plan of action for states to realize the full economic and social potential of this unique tax incentive. To recount, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 provides a new incentive – centered around the deferral of capital gains taxes — to spur private investments in low-income areas designated as Opportunity Zones. Given the significant interest among investors, it is possible that this new tax incentive could attract tens of billions of dollars in private capital, making this one of the largest economic development initiatives in U.S. history.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · June 19
Opportunity Zones and Institutional Reform

The two of us have been spending the bulk of our time in hyper-invention mode. To maximize the potential economic and social impact of recently enacted federal tax incentives, Mayor Garcetti’s Accelerator for America has engaged us to create a new tool — an Investment Prospectus — to enable cities, counties and states to identify concrete investable projects and propositions in designated Opportunity Zones. We are using Louisville, Oklahoma City and South Bend as our test cases and we are grateful to Mayors Greg Fischer, David Holt and Pete Buttigieg and their teams for being co-creators.

Bruce Katz & Jeremy Nowak · May 29
From Blue Sky to Blueprint

When we prepared the initial outline for The New Localism in late 2016, we included a chapter simply entitled “Blue Sky.” Our goal was to identify a series of concrete ideas for urban stakeholders — city governments, corporations, philanthropies, universities, investors — to raise and deploy large amounts of public, private and civic capital for transformative impact. What ultimately emerged was Chapter Nine, where we put forward a “provocative agenda for supporting and scaling up the most critical investments needed in cities in the areas of innovation, infrastructure, and inclusion.”