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Nowak Metro Finance Lab

Financing the Inclusive City

The Nowak Metro Finance Lab was created to invent and scale new ways of financing the inclusive city by making sustained, multi-sectoral investments in innovation, infrastructure, affordable housing, quality places, sustainable development and the schooling and skilling of children and young adults.  The Lab honors the legacy of Jeremy Nowak, the widely respected urban thought leader and practitioner who founded The Reinvestment Fund and was an incomparable asset as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. Bruce Katz, Nowak’s close friend and co-author of The New Localism, is the founding director of the Lab. To achieve its mission to finance the inclusive city, the lab will:

  • Define a new paradigm for financing the inclusive city by organizing public, private and civic resources in novel and creative ways;
  • Codify proven instruments, intermediaries and institutions that generate large sources of new capital and are ripe for scaling, replication and adaptation; and 
  • Forge new forms of urban finance that respond to difficult challenges or emergent opportunities.

Across the United States, Europe and beyond, cities and metropolitan areas are filling the vacuum left by national governments and slowly creating a new field of Metro Finance.  The Nowak Metro Finance Lab operates on the central, driving insight that, in most societies, scarce capital is not the constraint it is often made out to be; with the right organizations and mechanisms, vast amounts of capital are there to be raised, connected and deployed. The Nowak Lab is, therefore, focused on helping cities assume new problem-solving responsibilities with optimism, affirmative energy, and, most importantly, new resources, and will conduct its work in close concert with a broad network of cities, mayors, practitioners, financial institutions and research partners.

Read Bruce's vision for the Lab

Read our first report, From Transactions to Transformation: How Cities Can Maximize Opportunity Zones

Read more about the roots of the Metro Finance Lab in The New Localism.

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