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About the Nowak Lab

The Nowak Metro Finance Lab was founded in 2018 to help cities identify and implement innovative strategies to leverage public assets and fund public infrastructure for public benefit, with a focus on supporting inclusive and equitable growth. The Lab honors the legacy of Jeremy Nowak, the widely respected urban thought leader and practitioner. Read more about Jeremy’s work and legacy.

The Lab’s founding director is Bruce Katz, who co-authored The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism with Jeremy Nowak. Katz regularly advises global, national, state, regional and municipal leaders on public reforms and private innovations that advance the well-being of metropolitan areas and their countries. Katz is also the co-author of and The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy (Brookings Institution Press, 2013). Read more about Bruce’s work.

Our Home at Drexel

Drexel University is uniquely qualified to create a new Metro Finance Lab. From its inception in 1891, the University has stood at the intersection of theory and practice. The University still proudly fulfills its founding vision by placing a strong emphasis on an applied education as the heart of the Drexel experience; offering real world skills, training and entrée to the work world to our students and encouraging our faculty to fully engage in the vexing and challenging issues of our day.

The University is also deeply rooted in the life of the city. Its location in University City, literally blocks away from 30th Street Station as well as a series of high-poverty neighborhoods, places it at the juxtaposition of prosperity and distress, innovation and inclusion. This grounding will enable the University to use Philadelphia itself as a test-bed for new Metro Finance instruments and institutions.

As an initiative of Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, the Lab will leverage Lindy’s deep expertise in practice-based, interdisciplinary urban problem solving.  The Lindy Institute was founded in 2012 to forge innovative strategies to equitably advance cities by leveraging multidisciplinary expertise, drawing from Drexel’s design, economic development, public health, sociology, engineering, law, public policy programs, among others. As an initiative of Lindy, the Metro Finance Lab will also tap the University’s burgeoning relationships with Arizona State University and the University of Southern California and build on existing relationships with Copenhagen Business School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the London School of Economics. Finally, the Lab will add to and build upon the strong connections of Lindy to a rich network of reflective practitioners in Philadelphia and beyond.