Metropolitan Policy Program

About Us - Metropolitan Policy Program

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The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings is redefining the challenges facing metropolitan America and identifying assets and promoting innovative solutions to help communities grow in more productive, inclusive, and sustainable ways. 

Why metropolitan areas? They are the heart of the American economy. They are also our hubs of research and innovation, our centers of human capital, and our gateways of trade and immigration. Metropolitan areas drive the economy, and American competitiveness depends on their vitality. More than ever, this is a national imperative as our global competitors move aggressively down this path — boosting exports, investing in innovation, scaling up clean technology, and embarking on large scale transformative projects.

In its fifteen years, the Metro Program has become the nation's go-to organization for chronicling the dynamic demographic, economic, and social forces sweeping our country and interpreting what these forces mean for metropolitan areas. It has worked closely with states and metropolitan areas to design a new metropolitan agenda that matches the pace and intensity of demographic change and economic restructuring. It has partnered with corporate, civic, community, environmental, and political leaders to implement this agenda, either in whole or in part through the enactment of meaningful initiatives and fundamental change. This includes work in a diverse array of states such as Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and a diverse array of metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

While the Metro Program conducts most of its work outside of the Beltway, it led a successful federally-focused initiative known as the Blueprint for American Prosperity, which promoted an economic agenda for the nation that built on the assets and centrality of its metropolitan areas. The Blueprint’s research (MetroNation) and policy ideas (MetroPolicy and the Blueprint Policy Series) informed over ten federal initiatives since 2009. 

Over the past few years, the Metro Program has continued to influence policy and practice across the country. Anticipating the toll that the Great Recession would take on metropolitan areas and states, as well as the shifts necessary to move from a consumption-oriented economy to a more productive and sustainable economic growth model, the program realigned its research, policy ideas, practice development, and network-building activities in service of the next economy. This is an economy that is fueled by innovation, powered by low carbon, driven by exports, rich with opportunity, and fundamentally metropolitan in form and function. It will also produce more jobs and better jobs, as well as more accessible jobs and opportunities for more metropolitan residents. It will also build smarter and more sustainable places that embrace demographic change, technological progress, and a better quality of life for all citizens. 

Led by co-directors and founders Bruce Katz and Amy Liu, the Metro Program helps metropolitan leadership apply the next economy framework by: 1) economically situating metropolitan areas through rigorous trend and empirical research on the top economic, social and demographic issues; 2) innovating locally through co-designing metropolitan economic development strategies that build on distinct assets; 3) advocating nationally by producing state and federal policy ideas and platforms that are in service of metropolitan areas; and 4) networking globally by linking decision makers to a global network of trading metropolitan areas. 

Current Projects

The Global Cities Initiative: A Joint Project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase will equip leaders from the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas with the information, policy ideas, and partners necessary to build economic partnership with their international peers and operate in today's global environment.

The Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation is working to present fiscally-responsible state policies and practical metropolitan-led solutions that leaders can use to create a next economy that is driven by exports, powered by low carbon, fueled by innovation, rich with opportunity and led by metropolitan areas.

The Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, led by Senior Fellow Robert Puentes, has broadly reassessed the nation's transportation policies, providing options beyond the current hodgepodge of pet projects, to better address these critical needs.

The Metropolitan Opportunity Series documents the changing geography of poverty and opportunity in metropolitan America, analyzes its drivers and implications and offers policy recommendations to enhance the well-being of lower-income families and communities in both cities and suburbs.

The MetroMonitor is a quarterly, interactive barometer of the health of America’s 100 largest metropolitan economies. It examines trends in metropolitan-level employment, output, and housing conditions to look “beneath the hood” of national economic statistics to portray the diverse metropolitan trajectories of recession and recovery across the country.

View past projects »