This paper was prepared as background for a convening of national experts to explore how the fields of urban planning/design and economic development can better inform each other in practice in the context of the changing global economy and its effects on urban growth form. Developed by RW Ventures, LLC, Urban Planning and Design for the American City and Metropolis Strategies, the paper compares the fields’ goals, frameworks, tools and activities including through applications to particular types of new 21st century urban challenges and opportunities, and raises a set of new issues and suggestions for greater and different collaborations between the fields.

Building on The Changing Dynamics of Urban America, this study examines the relative importance of economic and quality of life factors in attracting and retaining college-educated workers. The project, conducted with Christopher Berry, revealed that the dichotomy of “amenities versus jobs” that seems to dominate the current debate on the issue is misleading: the importance of human capital in today’s economy means that both workers and firms are attracted to metropolitan areas with high concentrations of human capital, deployed in networks of knowledge-intensive industries, functions, and occupations.

Developed for the June 2014 Convening on Inclusive Regional Economic Growth at the Ford Foundation, this framing paper captures findings from interviews of attendees and other leading practitioners to provide a baseline assessment of the emerging practice of Inclusive Regional Economic Growth. The paper describes underlying changes in the next economy, including the inclusive growth paradox and imperative; provides an economic framework for identifying key challenges and opportunities for aligning growth and inclusion; highlights innovations and issues in the emerging practice; and offers observations about how to better coordinate and scale the practice.

The “Implementing Regionalism” project, supported by the Surdna Foundation, begins to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of regional economic development through a comprehensive review of existing research and expert input across five key areas of regional economies: deployment of human capital, economic clusters, innovation and entrepreneurship, spatial efficiency and the institutional environment. The paper draws preliminary conclusions that both suggest initial lessons for practice, and identify key areas where further applied research and product development would be most productive in order to further advance the practice of economic development.

The Dynamic Neighborhood Taxonomy (DNT) project provides new analysis on how urban neighborhoods operate, how they change over time, what factors determine their success and how these dynamics vary across different types of neighborhoods. In doing so, the project also created a new generation of analytic tools for businesses, investors, funders, governments and community development practitioners to use in better targeting investments and interventions in urban communities. The findings and tools from this major three-year collaborative project, sponsored by Living Cities, are detailed in an Executive Summary, Report and Appendices.

This paper, published in the Williams Review, presents selected results from the first phase of the Dynamic Neighborhood Taxonomy Project. In particular, the paper investigates two key questions relating to the dynamics of neighborhood change: the extent to which change in housing prices at the neighborhood level is driven by change in the region, and the extent to which neighborhoods tend to converge over time.

This paper and related presentation, prepared for Opportunity Finance Network and CFED, introduce a new framework for bipartisan economic development policies, centered on the idea of “inclusionary growth”.

These two complementary papers written for the Brookings Institution’s Urban Markets Initiative examine the role of information resources in spurring markets and creating investment strategies to boost urban neighborhoods. The papers offer a framework for market-based community economic development, presenting business-planning tools for inner city communities. 

This major study, conducted with Christopher Berry for CEOs for Cities, examines the changing drivers of economic success in American cities and metropolitan areas, and how these affect decision-making for leaders across all sectors. The report illustrates our findings on what is happening in and to cities, what made some cities thrive in the 1990s, and what factors appear to make the critical difference for the future.

In planning its activities for the next decade, Living Cities commissioned RW Ventures and the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program to undertake the design phase for a ten-year project that would invest in information to drive inner-city market investment, asset-building and policy reform.  The work presented in this report resulted in the creation of the Urban Markets Initiative.