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Karen Black

Karen Black headshot

Senior Research Fellow
Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation

Karen L. Black joined the Lindy Institute as a Senior Research Fellow in 2019. She is co-author of Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine: A Private Led Model for Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods  and Cortex Innovation District: A Model for Anchor-led, Inclusive Innovation, City Cases from the Nowak Metro Finance Lab.

Black is the CEO of May 8 Consulting, Inc. a firm that performs policy research, analysis, facilitation and coalition building to form innovative and creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems facing communities. Whether trying to revitalize a city, preserve open space, stop abandonment and blight, create environmental sustainability, or promote regional equity, her goal is to work with May 8's clients to create an action plan to address these issues that is innovative, collaborative, high-impact, and politically feasible. Black does not stop at creating the action plan, however; often, she works with clients to implement the necessary changes.

Black has taught in the Urban Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania since 2002. In Fall 2015, Black additionally taught a graduate level course at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on issues of gentrification and displacement. Prior to beginning her consulting practice, Black was the founding director of the Metropolitan Philadelphia Policy Center, a region-wide policy center founded to research issues impacting the economy, environment and equity within the Philadelphia metropolitan region. Before that, Black spent 12 years as a practicing civil rights attorney. Black is the author of numerous reports and professional articles and a frequent commentator for television and radio programs. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College and a Doctorate of Law from the University of California at Los Angeles.