Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America

Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America

Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America

Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America


Making Cities Work brings together leading writers and scholars on urban America to offer critical perspectives on how to sustain prosperous, livable cities in today's fast-evolving economy. Successful cities provide jobs, quality schools, safe and clean neighborhoods, effective transportation, and welcoming spaces for all residents. But cities must be managed well if they are to remain attractive places to work, relax, and raise a family; otherwise residents, firms, and workers will leave and the social and economic advantages of city living will be lost.

Drawing on cutting-edge research in the social sciences, the contributors explore optimal ways to manage the modern city and propose solutions to today's most pressing urban problems. Topics include the urban economy, transportation, housing and open space, immigration, race, the impacts of poverty on children, education, crime, and financing and managing services. The contributors show how to make cities work for diverse urban constituencies, and why we still need cities despite the many challenges they pose. Making Cities Work brings the latest findings in urban economics to policymakers, researchers, and students, as well as anyone interested in urban affairs.

In addition to the editor, the contributors are David Card, Philip J. Cook, Janet Currie, Edward L. Glaeser, Joseph Gyourko, Richard J. Murnane, Witold Rybczynski, Kenneth A. Small, and Jacob L. Vigdor.


This book, Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America, and a companion conference held at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, on May 4, 2007, honor the memory of Dr. Kathyrn Engebretson, past president of the William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia. Kathy was a graduate of Luther College (1977), received her MBA in finance from the Wharton School (1983), and then went on to earn her PhD from Wharton in applied economics and public policy (1996). She began her professional career in public finance in Denver, but soon returned to Philadelphia as vice president of Lehman Brothers, one of several senior financial management positions that she held in the private sector. In January 1991, Kathy joined the administration of then newly elected Mayor Ed Rendell as the city treasurer, and in that position was instrumental in helping to steer the city from the edge of bankruptcy to balanced budgets and finally to the city's first significant tax reductions in over fifty years. In 1997, Kathy joined the administration of President Judith Rodin at the University of Pennsylvania as vice president for finance and chief financial officer. In 2001, Kathy was appointed president of the William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia's largest regionally focused foundation, to lead its new efforts on policyoriented grant making to address community needs. She held that position until her death in February 2005, at the age of forty-eight.

Kathy was a cherished friend of the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, and the city of Philadelphia. Her accomplishments working with governmental, business, and not-for-profit organizations demonstrated how each sector can contribute to civic betterment. A volume and a companion conference on managing cities using the best practices from the public and private sectors therefore seemed a fitting tribute to Kathy's outstanding career. In her opening remarks for the conference, President Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania described Kathy as a pragmatic idealist. This volume aspires to that high standard, and I am extremely pleased that such an outstanding group of scholars agreed to participate in this project. The authors' chapters, originally presented at the Wharton Impact Conference, have been refereed and revised for publication here. Participants at the conference included other leading scholars, policymakers, financial managers, and foundation representatives.

Beyond the opportunity to honor the career of Kathy Engebretson, this project has proven timely for another reason as well. It has been . . .

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