The Metropolitan Revolution | Bruce Katz

Summary of: The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy
By: Bruce Katz

Introduction

In ‘The Metropolitan Revolution’, Bruce Katz examines how cities in the United States are tackling economic revitalization, job creation, and improved quality of life by embracing unique local strengths. The book showcases compelling examples from various urban centers, illustrating the ways communities are driving change and no longer relying solely on federal or state government support. Themes covered in this summary include innovation districts that breathe life into once-dormant areas, as well as the importance of partnerships between city officials, businesses, charities, universities, and community groups in creating sustainable urban economies.

The Metropolitan Revolution

Cities in the United States are taking control of their own destinies by creating unique identities and financial futures through local initiatives. To generate jobs and enhance quality of life, local leaders are collaborating with businesses, charities, universities, and community groups instead of relying on federal or state governments. This shift is evident in the emergence of innovation districts that bring vibrancy to once-dormant areas and community outreach programs that effectively guide assistance dollars where they can make the most impact. Metropolitan areas are charting a new path forward by understanding their unique jurisdictions and needs to survive and thrive, moving away from outdated federal strategies. Four areas of the country illustrate how the metropolitan revolution is underway. The shifts in local governments show the power of community strength, and how turning inward can help the United States rebuild itself from the ground up.

Revitalizing New York’s Economy

In the wake of the 2009 financial crisis, New York City faced significant economic challenges, including job loss and budget deficits. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) responded by partnering with government, corporate, educational, and community leaders to develop strategies focused on exports, science, technology, and innovative energy sources. They solicited proposals from universities worldwide for a new campus on city-owned land, which resulted in the creation of Cornell NYC Tech. The city also launched the Applied Science Initiatives to foster an educated workforce and boost local job creation and export activity. By taking a collaborative approach and prioritizing innovative solutions, New York was able to overcome the challenges of the financial crisis and set the stage for a more prosperous future.

Denver’s Path to Successful Regional Collaboration

Denver’s history displayed divided political interests and uncoordinated localities. However, the creation of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation in the 1980s marked the beginning of a change in regional cooperation. This group worked towards revitalizing the mass transit system to curb gridlock. Although their efforts took time, voters approved the transportation plan known as FasTracks in 2004. The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District was also approved by voters, marking a key cultural collaboration initiative. Over the years, Denver’s leaders prioritized compromise and cooperation over individual community interests, leading to successful solutions.

Revitalizing Cleveland’s Economy

Northeast Ohio’s economy was in shambles in the early 80s due to the loss of manufacturing jobs, and Cleveland defaulted on its debt. Despite multiple failed revitalization attempts, philanthropic foundations stepped in to support the area’s economy. The Fund for Our Economic Future was created, which helped establish various nonprofits such as BioEnterprise and Nortech. These organizations provided guidance and funding to inventors and entrepreneurs alike, which led to the creation of thousands of jobs in the local economy. The Fund continued to support these organizations, helping to secure federal funding for research and development, and provided 30-50% of their operating budgets. Today, the Fund for Our Economic Future is still active and plays a significant role in shaping the region’s economic future.

The Economic and Cultural Impact of Immigrants on Metropolitan Areas

Immigrants settle in cities, providing new ideas, cultures, and businesses that stimulate the US economy, contributing to 30% of its population growth between 2000 and 2012. However, language barriers and lower education levels pose challenges. Houston’s Neighborhood Centers offer support through social programs for child and senior care, tax preparation, and job placement. These nonprofit entities, funded by donations and government contracts, serve as examples for other cities with diverse immigrant populations. Immigrants remain a pivotal force in metropolitan areas, driving innovation and growth.

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