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Research and Analysis

Understanding the urban economic ecosystem

Header Image

Federal Policy

Cities are undoubtedly America’s future. The federal government can bring scope and scale to smart social policy within cities, particularly in the areas of urban business development, job creation, and infrastructure investment. ICIC is continuously working to shape policies that will serve inner cities better. To that end, here is ICIC’s collection of best practices and recommendations for federal urban policy in the 21st century:

  • Increasing Economic Opportunity in Distressed Urban Communities With EB-5: This report is intended to stimulate a new dialogue by offering insights into the potential of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as a tool for impact investing in inner cities. A set of recommendations is offered to the community of organizations engaged in impact investing to help them fully leverage this tool to maximize economic opportunity in distressed urban areas. 
  • Capital Availability in Inner Cities: What Role for Federal Policy: This paper examines capital availability in America's inner cities and the role of federal policy. The paper received the KFS Promising Paper Award for 2011, which is bestowed on the authors of working papers with promising potential for impacting the understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation using the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS).
  • Building Sustainable Communities: This presentation outlines ICIC's approach to building sustainable, equitable inner city communities.  The presentation was presented at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Cities Bootcamp at the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
  • Is There a New Geography of American Poverty? This paper examines the notion that poverty is moving to America's suburbs. Based on an analysis of data from the American Community Survey, ICIC finds that targeted economic development in cities remains the most effective approach to alleviating regional poverty.


Case History

Initiative for a Competive Brooklyn

Seizing Our Moment


Historically, one out of every six American families claims roots in Brooklyn, so laying a strong economic foundation in Brooklyn helps immigrant families realize their piece of the American Dream. Brooklyn needs to increase its economic competitiveness, because its residents need better quality, higher-paying jobs.

The Challenge:

Brooklyn has 31% of the population of New York City, but only 13% of the jobs. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz wants to change that. With Stanley Brezenoff, President and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, he calls ICIC.

ICIC's Role:

In partnership with the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, ICIC convenes a diverse group of more than 200 private, public and civic leaders to examine Brooklyn’s assets and economic landscape. They focus on ways to strengthen Brooklyn’s competitive position and expand economic opportunities for low-income and small businesses. Together the group identifies four target business clusters.

Results for Brooklyn:

The Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn is implementing a market-based strategy that builds on the area’s competitive advantages of a diverse population and regional linkages. Specific business development plans are in place for each of the four identified business clusters: Health Services; Hospitality, Tourism Arts and Culture; Food Processing; and Real Estate, Construction and Development.Read more.

  • ICIC is the voice of inner cities future. They have been there. They know the potential. They know who to work with… and what works.

Barbara Berke,

Former Secretary of Economic Development

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

for our monthly Inner City Insights.

© 2016 Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. All rights reserved.

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