Using Information to Drive Change: New Ways of Moving Markets

Pari Sabety and
Pari Sabety Director,<br>Urban Markets Initiave,<br>Metropolitan Policy Program,<br>The Brookings Institution
Virginia Carlson
Virginia Carlson Associate Professor

July 1, 2004

Unleashing the potential of America’s cities depends on developing a systematic view of
how information influences market investment decisions, especially as America moves to
a more knowledge-based economy. This brief examines the critical role of information in
urban markets. It begins by describing the information cycle: how information is created,
reported, collected, disseminated, and turned into “actionable knowledge” used to make
investment decisions in urban areas. When critical information is not available, not
accurate, or not used by market actors, an “information gap” exists. The authors postulate
that closing this gap will help markets to function more effectively to build healthy communities,
laying the basis for a robust investment climate, a vibrant labor market and
residents with strong connections to the economic mainstream. The brief concludes by
suggesting actions in three major areas to address the gap and introduces the Urban
Markets Initiative program—an initiative to advance thought and practice in the field
of urban information.