Today the Urban Institute launches the MetroTrends blog—a new chorus of seasoned voices on the changes and challenges facing metropolitan America. Join us as we explore issues ranging from crime prevention to municipal bankruptcy, from health disparities to crumbling infrastructure, from the work of neighborhood nonprofits to region-wide employment opportunities, and more.
The blog’s focus is metropolitan because ours is an urban nation. Eight out of ten Americans are either city dwellers or suburbanites, and the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas account for the vast bulk of jobs, innovation, and economic opportunity. These metro regions – as diverse as El Paso and Boston, Macon and Seattle – are where hotly debated public policies hit the ground and either succeed or fail.
For 40 years, Urban Institute experts have been exploring what makes metros tick. We’ve tracked the well-being and prospects of families, neighborhoods, and businesses and developed a keen sense of what separates city, state, and federal programs that work from those that don’t.
With this deep background and our eyes on the news, we’ll use the MetroTrends blog to share our latest ideas, assessments, and facts. We’ll help you sort out the pros and cons of policies on the chopping block, gauge competing claims on controversial issues, and make sense of newly released data. Sometimes we’ll look ahead – helping you anticipate trends and choices on the horizon—and sometimes we’ll look back – aiming to show how metros got where they are today and what they need to do to stay socially vibrant and economically viable.
Some of our regular bloggers will offer a global perspective. They’ll draw on decades of hands-on work with local governments in emerging democracies and other developing countries to relate metropolitan challenges abroad to urban life and policy in the U.S.
We hope you’ll start reading the MetroTrends blog to follow a topic you care about and then discover how it’s connected to other issues under the metropolitan tent. That way, we’ll also create a new community. We welcome your reactions and hope you’ll join us.