The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism

By: Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak

Meeting Date: February 7, 2024 6:30 PM

“The New Localism” is a book about how local governments could solve difficult problems if they worked more collaboratively with others and used more creative approaches to financing improvements. Cities have greater resources than they realize, the authors say. Collaboration and new thinking about finance can unlock these resources.

The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

  • Cities and urban regions can make great progress, particularly in issues like economic development, workforce development, transportation and housing, if they involve their most important institutions in well-designed, enduring decision-making networks.
  • In taking on these issues, these networks must keep placemaking as a central goal. Building a vibrant and interesting city is critical to attracting 21st century companies and highly skilled workers.
  • An advantage of having many institutions working together with government is they may discover new ways of financing improvements and supporting their upkeep. 
  • We have the “right bones” in Urban Atlanta for collaboration, and there are numerous examples of successful decision-making networks. But we don’t tend to use these networks for our greatest issues, and we don’t hold these networks together. 
  • One result is a lack of follow-through for big decisions. One example is MARTA, our 50-year-old, still unfinished transit system, but there are others.