News Release

Brookings Launches the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Washington, DC – The Brookings Institution today announced the establishment of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking, naming senior fellow Jennifer Vey its director. The new Center—to be housed within the Metropolitan Policy Program—will examine the spatial patterns of economic growth, demonstrate how they are changing, and identify the particular attributes of economic districts that contribute to more widespread social and economic impact. It will further elevate innovative placemaking practices and promote place-led inclusive economic growth strategies.

“Place has always mattered to people and economies,” said Bass Center director and Brookings senior fellow Jennifer Vey, “but in today’s tech-driven economy, place-based investments are too often concentrated in amenity-rich urban areas to attract high-skilled workers. We need to understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing different kinds of economic districts—whether downtowns, university and medical districts, suburban business parks, or rural Main Streets—so that local leaders can better address the needs of all people living and working in those places.”

“Brookings Metro is excited to launch our first center, dedicated to ensuring that every city and metro area–no matter its size–can create vibrant economic districts that generate large-scale opportunities for more people,” said Amy Liu, Brookings vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program. “We look forward to working with local leaders across sectors and disciplines to achieve this place-centered vision.”

The creation of the Bass Center was made possible by a generous gift from Brookings Trustee Robert M. Bass and his wife, philanthropist Anne T. Bass, who previously supported an institutional initiative on innovation and placemaking that examined the role of mixed-use urban districts in promoting innovation and strengthening local economies.

“Anne and I are pleased to continue our support of Brookings and their best-in-class research on cities and the economy,” said Robert Bass. “We are excited to see what this Center and its partners do to further the practice of placemaking in order to generate transformative value for more people and places.”

“In establishing this new Center, Anne and Bob Bass are lending their names to over 100 years of scholarship, independence, and impact,” said Brookings president John R. Allen. “I am deeply grateful for their generosity and I look forward to seeing the indelible mark this Center’s work will have on American cities large and small.”

The Bass Center will work with Project for Public Spaces and National Main Streets Center as key collaborators in its objective to become a hub for knowledge on the intersection of place and economy.


Launched in 2018, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at Brookings inspires public, private, and civic sector leaders to make transformative investments in places that generate widespread social and economic benefits. To learn more, visit:

The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings delivers research and solutions to help metropolitan leaders build an advanced economy that works for all. To learn more, please visit Follow us on Twitter at

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The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.