- Civic AnalyticsLearn more
The Civic Analytics program, led by Professor Constantine Kontokosta, works directly with cities to acquire, analyze, and derive insight from data in order to solve tangible and significant problems of city management, policy, and planning.Health, Environment, and PolicyLearn more
The Health, Environment, and Policy program, led by Professor Kevin Cromar, improves health through scientific research, direct policy engagement, and collaboration with agencies at the local, federal, and international level.LitmusLearn more
The Litmus program, led by Professor Angela Hawken, works with public agencies and the people they serve to develop and rigorously test new ideas for improving the performance of the public sector.Transportation and Land UseLearn more
The Transportation and Land Use program, led by Professor Eric Goldwyn, examines transit-infrastructure projects, land-use policies, and complementary data sets to understand how public agencies build, manage, and pay for capital projects, like subway expansions, bicycle lanes, and high speed rail.
- Urban ExpansionLearn more
The Urban Expansion program, led by Professor Shlomo Angel and supported jointly with the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, works with rapidly growing cities to better prepare them for their inevitable growth.Director’s Office LabsLearn more
The Director’s Office, led by the Director of NYU Marron Institute, opportunely engages with researchers on urban-focused projects that can develop into full programs if they demonstrate impact and are viable.
A charter city is a type of civic startup, a framework for reform. Charter cities allow societies to experiment with new rules, but to do so in ways that do not force change on those who don’t want it. Because participation is voluntary, the social norms of those who participate work to legitimize the new rules that a civic startup puts to the test. Like other civic startups, a charter city offers a way to break out of systems of rules that otherwise deprive people of chances to reach their true potential.
Reformers can start a charter city by enacting founding legislation—or a charter—that commits a public entity to key principles of reform. Though the specifics of reform depend on the local context, all charter cities share two foundational principles: people must be free to choose whether to move in, and those who do must enjoy equality under the law. Opt-in and equality under the law ensure that everyone has a stake in the economic and cultural life of the new city.
Grounded in these foundational principles, charter cities offer a great deal of flexibility for reform. Many will begin by identifying and adapting good rules from elsewhere in the world, much like Shenzhen did when it adopted rules that allowed China to reap the gains from global economic participation after a prolonged period of economic decline. Some charter cities will draw on the expertise of different national or municipal governments, engaging reputable partners in an effort to attract residents, businesses, and investors.
Charter cities will start small. But by thinking at the city-scale, leaders can give the reforms in a charter city room to succeed—the potential to attract millions of people, many of whom would end up in cities this century anyways. A successful charter city could not only host millions of residents, it could also influence welfare-enhancing change in the broader society by demonstrating the benefits of reform.CloseSign up for the Marron Institute Mailing List
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