Good News and Bad News: Westchester County and America’s First Suburbs

May 15, 2006

In this keynote presentation at the fourth annual Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit, Robert Puentes outlined the opportunities and assets of America’s older, inner-ring, “first” suburbs and what local non-profits in Westchester, NY can do to ensure that they are prepared to meet the challenges these communities are facing.

This presentation builds off a recent Brookings publication, One Fifth of America, A Comprehensive Guide to America’s First Suburbs. That report examines these places’ special needs and explores some of the key policy changes needed to meet them effectively.

First suburbs—like Westchester—are home to some to the most expensive housing, the most highly educated residents and those with the highest incomes. And yet, first suburbs are also staring down a set of looming challenges that threaten their overall stability. Expensive housing presents mounting struggles regarding affordability, especially as poverty increases in these places despite a decrease nationally. There are also tremendous racial disparities in first suburbs and the high incomes and education levels found there are not shared equally among all residents.

In this presentation, Puentes defines first suburbs throughout the nation, examines their similarities and differences, and, finally, sets out a policy agenda tailored specifically to these distinctive places.

The metro program hosts and participates in a variety of public forums. To view a complete list of these events, please visit the metro program’s Speeches and Events page which provides copies of major speeches, PowerPoint presentations, event transcripts, and event summaries.