Last April, I wrote my first ever post for City Observatory, which unfortunately began with a David Foster Wallace quote. But it was up and up from there. Over the last year-plus here, City Observatory has given me an incredible platform to explore urban issues in public, combining intellectual rigor with a variety of subject matter and willingness to embrace heterodoxy that I’m not sure is matched anywhere else.

Fortunately, I will get to keep writing for City Observatory. But after this week, it will be in the capacity of a once-a-month columnist, rather than a full-time Fellow. (And of course, I’ll still be tweeting at @danielkayhertz and writing occasionally at Though I’m fascinated by national (and even international) urban issues, I’ve always been a myopic homer at heart, and I have taken an opportunity to work on policy in my hometown of Chicago at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done at City Observatory, and very grateful to Joe Cortright for providing the leadership that made it possible, and giving me the opportunity to be a part of it. In the less than two years since its founding, City Observatory has become a staple of the urban policy conversation, getting nominated as one of Planetizen’s top websites (“every single post is required reading”), and routinely showing up in mainstream news stories about important urban issues, both in local media and top-flight national outlets like The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post.

There’s a growing understanding of the ways in which urban policy are at the core of many of America’s greatest challenges, especially issues of economic inequality, opportunity, and climate change. City Observatory plays a crucial role in investigating and explaining both these challenges and possible solutions. I’m excited, both as a contributor and reader, to see how it grows over the next two years and beyond.