Amy Liu is Interim President of the Brookings Institution. Liu most recently served as Vice President and Director of Brookings Metro and the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy.
A national expert on cities and metropolitan areas, Liu co-founded Brookings Metro in 1996 and has built what is today a leading resource for leaders in government, business, nonprofits, and philanthropy in regions around the country interested in promoting prosperous, just, and resilient communities. Brookings Metro is known for trusted, future-leaning research; actionable knowledge on how markets and public policies jointly create lasting change; and for fostering collaborative networks that bring leaders together to get things done. She recently launched a new strategic plan for Brookings Metro to further the program’s impact and strengthen its values.
Liu is known for translating research insights into action on the ground, having spent time framing data insights for leaders in dozens of cities across the U.S. She writes frequently about inclusive economic growth, the fortunes of mid-sized cities and small towns, and the intersection of economic, workforce, land use, and community development policies. Liu’s paper “Remaking Economic Development” has catalyzed shifts in economic development across the country toward higher-quality growth, prosperity, and inclusion for all residents. That paper led to the launch of the program’s frequently cited Brookings Metro Monitor, which tracks inclusive economic growth performance for the nation’s large and mid-sized metros, and the Inclusive Economic Development Lab, which engages regional leaders in data-driven solutions and community engagement. During the multiple crises of 2020, Liu penned a brief that frames ways in which state and local leaders can “Rebuild Better” and achieve a more equitable economic recovery post COVID-19. Liu also wrote an essay describing how private sector CEOs can advance racial equity in their regional economies, which garnered the interest of business leaders in communities as diverse as Austin, TX, Columbus, OH, and Richmond, VA. In 2011, Liu was lead editor of the book, “Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita,” which built on her co-authorship of the New Orleans Index, a multiyear series of reports that tracked New Orleans’ progress in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Liu is frequently cited in top media outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
Liu also has extensive experience working with states and the federal government to develop policies and strategies that support cities and metropolitan areas. Recently, she penned an essay on the importance of cities and metropolitan areas in a divided nation and a brief on the federal role in supporting the economic competitiveness and renewal of urban and rural regions. In 2013, Liu served as a special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, guiding policy priorities related to trade, innovation, and data. Prior to Liu’s work at Brookings, she was Special Assistant to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and staffed the U.S. Senate Banking Committee’s subcommittee on housing and urban affairs.
Liu brings her passion for inclusive prosperity and bottom-up action to key nonprofits and institutions. Liu serves on several nonprofit boards such as Equal Measure, which helps local and national organizations advance social change, JUST Capital, which advances stakeholder capitalism among corporations, and Connected DMV, a regional collaborative in greater Washington, D.C. Liu is an advisory council member to ACT for Alexandria, a local community foundation, and is also a member of the University of Illinois System President’s Advisory Council. Liu has received numerous accolades for her work over the years, including being named to Washington Business Journal’s 2021 class of Women Who Mean Business awardees.
Liu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in social policy with a concentration in urban studies from Northwestern University. In 2015, Liu completed the High Impact Leadership Program at Columbia Business School.