About City Observatory

City Observatory is a website and think tank devoted to data-driven analysis of cities and the policies that shape them.

The website will feature posts that tackle misconceptions about cities, break down the latest urban research, and highlight the innovative ideas that strengthen our communities.

The site will cover topics such as transportation, housing, gentrification, place making, economic opportunity, and industry clusters. Core topics will be addressed in issue “cards” that will be updated on a consistent basis to reflect the latest data and research.

Periodically, the site will feature in-depth research report and papers on urban policy topics like crime in cities, traffic congestion, neighborhood change, and migration.   City Observatory is based in Portland, Oregon—a city synonymous with creative urban thinking—but our vision is nationwide in scope, looking at the best ideas for promoting city success, wherever they originate.

Read more about the inspiration for the site and what you can expect here: Welcome to City Observatory!

City Observatory is supported by Knight Foundation. It is run by Joe Cortright, an urban economist and opinion leader.

City Observatory’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

City Observatory Contributors

Joe Cortright

Joe Cortright is President and principal economist of Impresa, a consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, innovation and industry clusters. Over the past two decades he has specialized in urban economies developing the City Vitals framework with CEOs for Cities, and developing the city dividends concept.

Joe’s work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping regional economies. Prior to starting Impresa, Joe served for 12 years as the Executive Officer of the Oregon Legislature’s Trade and Economic Development Committee.  When he’s not crunching data on cities, you’ll usually find him playing petanque, the French cousin of bocce.

Joe can be found at jcortright[at]cityobservatory[dot]org

Dillon Mahmoudi

Dillon Mahmoudi is an economic geographer and PhD Candidate in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State. His research focuses on: the role, and production, of technology in urban areas; geographies of urban wealth and inequality; and critical quantitative and GIS methods. Outside of research, he is an ardent beer-maker and recovering programmer.

Dillon can be found at dillonm[at]cityobservatory[dot]org

Daniel Kay Hertz

Daniel Kay Hertz is completing his graduate studies at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He has written about urban demographics, neighborhood change, housing policy, and public transit for the Washington Post, CityLab, Next City, and other publications, as well as on his personal blog. If you come over for dinner, he’ll make you ravioli from scratch.

Daniel can be found at dkhertz[at]cityobservatory[dot]org