Neighborhoods of Choice and Connection: The Evolution of American Neighborhood Policy and What It Means for the United Kingdom

Bruce Katz
Bruce Katz Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab - Drexel University

July 1, 2004

This paper prepared for delivery at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Centenary Event in London surveys the contours of American neighborhood policy since the 1960s and proposes a new goal for such work in the U.S. and U.K.: the creation of “neighborhoods of choice and connection.” The paper opens with an overview of the nature of American neighborhood distress and how leaders have responded to it in recent decades. This section contends that three distinct sets of neighborhood policies have emerged over time and that there are strengths and limitations to each. Drawing on this analysis of the American experience, the paper then provides a series of observations on how community leaders and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic can embrace a new neighborhood paradigm that seeks to attract residents of all strata while linking them also to good-quality education, training, and other routes to economic opportunity.