America’s inner cities have vast undervalued assets that are largely unseen by conventional businesses.
The resulting underinvestment reflects a serious information gap affecting neighborhood markets. In today’s information age, where market intelligence is the single most valuable commodity in business, little reliable, accessible data or knowledge is available about emerging urban markets. This paper examines how current information, primarily dependent on federal data sources, fails to accurately convey the opportunity in inner city economies. It then suggests how building business-based data and models can address these information imperfections, and help bring new investment to America’s most distressed communities. The paper closes by suggesting ways that private sector leaders can work with the federal government and community organizations to improve data and market expertise and profitably invest in urban neighborhoods.