It’s spring in the city

On October 20 of last year, just six months ago, we launched City Observatory, a website and think tank devoted to data-driven analysis of cities and the policies that shape them. We are delighted to have participated in ongoing national discussions about a number of important policy issues facing cities. It’s been a whirlwind–and here’s what we’ve been up to:

To date, we’ve released three national reports.

The Young and Restless detailed the migration patterns of educated 25- to 34-year-olds to the close-in neighborhoods of the nation’s large metropolitan areas and compared how cities across the country were faring in attracting them.

Lost in Place tracked the persistence and spread of concentrated poverty, and showed how poverty—not gentrification—is our biggest urban challenge.

Surging City Center Job Growth showed how urban populations are are growing faster than suburban ones, and that jobs are coming back to the center of cities with this increase.

Over on our blog, we’ve been continuing to provide commentary about a variety of subjects, from biotech to McMansions to the looming threat that “Cappuccino Congestion” poses to the nation’s economic productivity. We’re also weighing in with our views on the important issues confronting the nation’s cities.  Learn why we think that, contrary to some assertions in the media, young adults are increasingly moving to the nation’s urban centers, and how some of the measures of gentrification are misleading and wrong.  And be sure to take a look at our latest post showing the close connection between segregation and the racial income gap.

We’re pleased with the reception that City Observatory’s work has gotten.  In addition to those who’ve visited our website, we’ve gotten terrific coverage in the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, and USA Today.

Our aim is to be open-source and data-driven, which is while you’ll find all the detailed data behind each of our analyses freely available on our website—we have a data page that provides data downloads and spells out methodology.  In addition, we’ve constructed a series of dashboards that let you check to see how your city is performing in attracting talented young workers, addressing concentrated poverty, and growing city center jobs.

This month, we welcome a new face to the City Observatory staff: Daniel Kay Hertz. You may already have come across Daniel’s insightful writing on his blog City Notes, or you may be already following him on Twitter, but feel free to hop on over to our blog and check out his contributions. We’re thrilled to have Daniel on board.

We’re grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for supporting our work, and we’re especially grateful to those who follow and commnet on the discussions here at City Observatory. Our work is only as good as the commentary and discussion we provoke. Please comment on our blog, connect with us on Twitter or Facebook or just email us to tell us what you think. Your continued interest, thoughts, and feedback push the conversation forward and make our work worth doing.