Blog Post

Brookings Institute Scholars Visit the Gardner Policy Institute

By: Natalie Gochnour

In their recent book, “The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism”, Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak detail how power in decision making has shifted downward from national-and-state-level governments to city-level and metropolitan communities. The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute was pleased to host a conversation with Katz and Nowak, along with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, in January 2018 as part of its series of Informed Decisions Seminars, to explore how this shift may affect the Wasatch Front and how we can embrace the change to build on new opportunities.

The Wasatch Front is at a tipping point of change with a growing population, exciting plans for the “Silicon Slopes” and an upcoming bid to once again host the Olympics. Salt Lake City, Draper, Lehi, Provo, and others serve as catalysts for more positive economic growth. Katz and Nowak say that “Cities are on the front line of the changing dynamics of population and cultural changes” because they solve hard problems with pragmatism and cooperation. Mayor Ben McAdams further made the point that cities “have no time or patience for partisan road blocks.” The success driven by “new localism” is based on connections, horizontal decision-making structures (including a movement away from “insular silos”), and