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Nowak Metro Finance LabĀ 

Lindy Fellows Bruce Katz and Karen Black co-author case study of Cortex Innovation District 

The Nowak Lab's latest City Case, focusing on the Cortex Innovation District

The Nowak Metro Finance Lab recently released its third City Case, Cortex Innovation District: A Model for Anchor-Led Inclusive Innovation, co-authored by Lindy Fellows Bruce Katz and Karen Black. This City Case is part of an ongoing series that will dig deeply into institutional and financing models that have driven large-scale urban transformation. City Cases seek to provide sufficient detail to enable large-scale adaptation and adoption and, over time, contribute to a new paradigm for financing inclusive cities by demonstrating how reorganizing public, private and civic resources in novel and creative ways can reshape local economies and remake local places. The first City Case was Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine: A Private Led Model for Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods and the second City Case was The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative: A Model of Urban Workforce Development

The Lab was launched in 2018 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. The Lab's mission is to:

  • 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.

Visit the Lab's website

Read Bruce's vision for the Lab

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

Read our second report, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative: A Model for Urban Workforce Development

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

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