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Planning for Progress Post-Pandemic and Protest 

Since the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab has worked to respond, both through original research and in adapting existing initiatives to address the evolving effects on communities. The latest work-products, developed in partnership with Accelerator for America and The Governance Project are linked below. Playbooks for local response to the COVID crisis are available on the Accelerator site.

Latest reports and updates:

What Comes Next for Small Business? - July 24, 2020

Bruce Katz and collaborators Beth Bafford, Jamie Rubin, Michael Saadine and Colin Higgins highlight how the next legislative package should provide funds for small businesses as PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) has become insufficient. 

Growing Wealth in Opportunity Zones: A Proposal for Community Equity Trusts - July 9, 2020

Bruce Katz and co-authors Kofi Bonner, Roberta Achtenberg, Lori Bamberger and Kate Gasparro break down the ways structural racism and the ongoing pandemic continues to affect the Black community and how community wealth can begin to sustainably grow in poverty stricken neighborhoods.  

The COVID-19 Crisis and Minority Business Recovery - July 8, 2020

Lab Director Bruce Katz and collaborators Kevin Gillen, Ben Preis, Victoria Orozco, Shannon Velasquez, Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor and Avery Harmon analyze the worsening impact of the pandemic on Black small owned businesses and offer information and resources on how officials might help to remedy these casualties and help Black-owned businesses moving forward.  

How States Can Grow Black-Owned Businesses - June 26, 2020

Bruce Katz and co-authors Kevin Gillen, Ben Preis and Sharon Velasquez analyze performance levels of Black-owned businesses in different states, congregate sector representation of Black-owned businesses, and how radicalized state policy and practice can stabilize Black-owned businesses from the impact of COVID-19. 

Small Business on the Eve of COVID-19 - June 18, 2020

Bruce Katz and co-authors Kevin Gillen, Ben Preis and Victoria Orozco examine the financial, economic, and sectoral disparities that Black owned businesses faced before the onset of the COVID crisis and how federal lenders plan to bridge financial disparities Black owned businesses are facing during the pandemic. 

Revitalizing Fiscal Federalism: A Modest Proposal for the COVID-19 Crisis - May 28, 2020

Lab Director Bruce Katz and collaborators Luise Noring and Andrew Petrisin explore the need for a respected federalist intermediary to address the third wave of the COVID crisis—the oncoming state and local fiscal meltdown.

RELIEF for Main Street Act: The Next Phase of COVID-19 Recovery - May 20, 2020

Lab Director Bruce Katz and collaborators Michael Saadine and Colin Higgins share how they have been working closely with a bipartisan group of legislators to inform the creation of a Main Street Emergency Act, which would send flexible resources directly to cities, counties and states so that they could top-up their relief funds and provide additional assistance to small businesses likely to be missed by the bank-administered Paycheck Protection Program. This resulted in the introduction of the $50 billion RELIEF for Main Street Act. 

Needed: Main Street Regenerators - May 13, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-authors Frances Kern Mennone, Michael Saadine and Colin Higgins share how cities require new intermediaries to fuel the revival of business districts and commercial corridors in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Skilling the Post COVID-19 Economy - May 7, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-authors Mary Jean Ryan, Jessica A. Lee and Courtney Kishbaugh examine how cities must work through the COVID-19 crisis to help unemployed workers and young first-time college students acquire the skills they will need to thrive in the tech-powered economy as we emerge from the pandemic.


How Life in Our Cities Will Look After the Coronavirus Pandemic - May 1, 2020

Bruce Katz, Philadelphia Fellow Richard Florida and other leading urban scholars and practitioners offer predictions in Foreign Policy for how the COVID-19 pandemic will change urban life forever. 

COVID Relief and Recovery: from products to places - May 1, 2020

Together with Beth Bafford, Ross Baird, Michael Saadine, and Colin Higgins, Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz describes the murky situation as the extent of COVID-19’s effects on the economy become a reality, with the spread of the virus not yet under control, state responses uncoordinated, and unemployment claims continue to climb.

Re-Opening the Economy and the Complexities of Downtowns - April 23, 2020

Bruce Katz and co-authors Frances Kern Mennone and Gunnar Branson focus attention on how the COVID-19 crisis will play out on the ground, particularly in places like downtowns and central business districts that form the core of commercial, cultural and civic life. 

Remaking US Institutions Post Crisis - April 16, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-authors Luise Noring and Andrew Petrisin propose a radically changed vision around growth, inclusion and sustainability for the nation, delivered not just through policy change but via institutions and institutional connections that can maximize the contributions of all levels of our government and all layers of society.

Needed: A Main Street Emergency Act - April 8, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz with co-authors Rick Jacobs, Jamie Rubin, Michael Saadine and Colin Higgins propose a $50 billion Main Street Emergency Act to augment local relief funds with federal resources and open up an additional tool in small business relief arguing that, despite playing a critical role, local relief funds are undercapitalized given this mission and already oversubscribed.

Setting Up a Small Business Emergency Relief Fund: Lessons from the First Three Movers - April 8, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-authors Colin Higgins and Michael Saadine build on their previous work on typologies to show local leaders the nuts and bolts that go into operationalizing relief funds, while providing practical resources for them to set up their own funds through profiles of three first mover funds: The Birmingham Strong Fund; The Erie County Revenue and Gaming Authority’s Bridge Loan Fund; and The Indy Chamber’s Rapid Response Fund.

Saving Small Business: Emerging Typologies of Local Relief Funds - April 1, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-authors Colin Higgins and Michael Saadine propose a practical and emergent typology of local small business emergency funds within cities, focusing on their scale, speed of delivery and constellation of intermediary organizations delivering the funds, identifying five different categories of funds by who is driving them locally. 

Why Erie's Downtown is a Proxy for the Nation: The Future of Main Street Business Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis - March 25, 2020

Nowak Lab Director Bruce Katz and co-author Ben Speggen view the challenges facing many cities across the nation though the microcosm of Erie, PA, showing how the revival of a downtown by a group of remarkable, passionate entrepreneurs, and city builders in a years-long effort is at risk of reversal in a matter of weeks.