Welcome to what matters for city success.

Our original analysis and in-depth research on cities and urban issues is designed to inform community leaders, policy makers, policy wonks and the rest of us.

Today we launch City Observatory, a data-driven platform for sharing, analyzing, and discussing the success of cities. We’re here to provide original research and a data-driven approach to the growing national conversation about cities—the things that work or don’t work to make city life better, and how we can do better.

After decades of despair, neglect and disenchantment, many cities are becoming places that more and more people choose to live—but not every city is on that list. We believe that America is in the early stages of a city renaissance, and that the choices we make as leaders and citizens have a role in shaping the cities of the future.

We’re unabashedly pro-city: we think the urban renaissance underway throughout the nation represents a fundamental cultural and economic movement that will make life better for everyone. Cities hold the key to tackling many of the nation’s greatest challenges: economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental sustainability.

So how does City Observatory fit into all of this?

On this site, we’ll dig into the social and economic trends that are driving the revitalization of urban neighborhoods and help you sort through the data to see what’s really happening in our communities.

We’ll explore how the combination of generational trends, the Great Recession, and the example of pioneering cities has permanently changed the marketplace.

We’ll take careful, critical look at the lingering myths that are holding cities back, like the distorted view that most “cost of living” indexes portray of city living. We’ll talk about the vital role that policy can play in realizing the opportunities for building stronger cities.

If you’ve poked around the site, you may have noticed that we’re powered by Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that supports transformational ideas to inform and engage communities. That means our mission is independent – we don’t answer to a corporate board and you won’t be bombarded with sponsors or advertisements.

Thanks for joining us as we explore what makes successful cities. Along the way, we invite you to participate in the discussion and share your perspective here on the site and on social media. You can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Together, we’ll elevate the level of discussion about the policy decisions that shape our communities and build support for ideas that will make our cities even stronger.