Amy Liu is vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy. She is a national expert on cities and metropolitan areas adept at translating research and insights into action on the ground. As director of Brookings Metro, which Liu co-founded in 1996, she pioneered the program’s signature approach to policy and practice, which uses rigorous research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunity. Liu has worked directly on such strategies with scores of public and private sector leaders in regions around the country, including Chicago, Kansas City, Phoenix, upstate New York, and New Orleans.
Most recently, Liu authored “Remaking Economic Development: The Markets and Civics of Continuous Growth and Prosperity,” in which she argues that city and metropolitan leaders must adopt a broader vision of economic development that can deliver economic growth, prosperity, and inclusion for all residents. In “Remaking Economic Development,” Liu discusses the limitations of existing strategies, outlines five principles that define a new model of economic development, and highlights innovations underway in cities and metropolitan areas across the country emblematic of this broader vision.
In 2011, Liu was lead editor of “Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita,” a volume of essays exploring ways to accelerate the region’s recovery. This built on her co-authorship of the New Orleans Index, a multi-year series of reports that tracked New Orleans’ progress in the aftermath of Katrina.
Liu also has extensive experience working with states and the federal government to develop policies and strategies to support cities and metropolitan areas. In 2013, Liu served as a special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, guiding policy priorities related to trade, innovation, and data. In 2010, Liu co-authored “Delivering the Next Economy: The States Step Up,” outlining a model for states to support bottom-up regional innovation.
Prior to her work at Brookings, Liu was Special Assistant to HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and staffed the U.S. Senate Banking Committee’s subcommittee on housing and urban affairs.
Liu serves as an advisory board member for ACT of Alexandria, a local community foundation, and as a trustee of Hopkins House, a Northern Virginia early childhood education non-profit that serves low-income families.
Liu holds a degree in social policy and urban studies from Northwestern University. In 2015, she completed the High Impact Leadership Program at Columbia Business School.
There’s a lot of anxiety now, because this election was about the heartland versus the coastal elites; we’re going to need a HUD secretary who governs both. When I think about what HUD is going to have to deal with next, it’s going to be the future of high-poverty neighborhoods, and how to deal with that not only in Baltimore but also Ferguson.
Economic growth is easy, but inclusion is harder... We need to be much more intentional about how we extend the benefits of growth and engage more people in our prosperity.
Cities and mayors need to act like businesses... and create partnerships that support the way economic development is done.