From State Capitols to City Halls
States matter. What happens in state government can make or break a city’s efforts to revitalize, yet this is frequently overlooked when it comes to a municipality’s economic, physical, and social improvement. Historically, states have supported urban revitalization, but in ways that fostered unequal outcomes while often limiting cities’ ability to leverage taxation powers, redevelop streetscapes and green spaces, and preserve neighborhoods for their residents. Yet state government is also uniquely positioned to foster real, equitable change—if key actors understand how. This Policy Brief returns the emphasis onto the people at the heart of our communities. Now more than ever, policy makers need to under-stand this push and pull between cities and states. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the United States’ pervasive inequities and made starker the need to remedy them, while our nation’s racial reckoning demands more equitable, healthier cities offering access to decent education, jobs, housing, and healthcare to all. Cities are often held hostage by state policy—but they do not need to be. This Policy Brief offers the foundation for a more constructive future.