The City Observatory homepage is designed to provide you with access to the latest in urban policy analysis and research, and the background to make sense of it all.

At the top of the site, you will find navigation links that will take you to the all of the content that we post on City Observatory: Subjects, Reports, and Commentary. Below, you’ll see the most recent CityCommentary posts in orange, our CityReports in green, and our constantly updated CitySubjects in blue.


CityCommentary is the voice of the site – it’s where you’ll find explanations of complex policy topics, thoughtful opinions, and insightful responses to urban analysis from across the world. CityCommentary posts will come from a variety of authors, including Joe Cortright, Carol Coletta, and guest writers.


The subject cards are the backbone of City Observatory – they are the topics the site follows most closely. Each subject has a series of cards that will be updated with the latest information and data – each card starts with a common question and addresses a different facet of that topic. For example, the cards for the subject “Kids in Cities” answer questions like “Are young people with children actually staying in cities?” and “What can cities to do accommodate families with children?” Check back to these subjects at any time for a primer about the issues that matter to the success of cities.


A hallmark of City Observatory will be our CityReports—in-depth explorations blending data analysis, survey research, and policy narratives to explain the ways our cities are changing. CityReports will cover topics like resurgence of core economies, the shifting demand for travel, neighborhood change, and migration. City Observatory will publish the first report, The Young and Restless and the Nation’s Cities, on October 20. This report will examine the attitudes and location preferences of the nation’s mobile young workers, and how they are shaping, and re-shaping city economies.