The piece looks at how Katz's work to highlight the importance of urban policy and metropolitan improvement strategies has come into vogue, and how the impact of his work at the Brookings Institution can be seen across the country, from the local level to the national stage.
"It's not hard to find evidence that Katz has hit prime time. After years of behind-the-scenes work, the 50-year-old wonk from Brooklyn has become America's oracle for cities, the policy prophet on everything from public housing to bike lanes to Great Recession urban economies. During a single week in December, Katz was quoted in a New York Observer article on office leasing rates and an Entrepreneur.com post critiquing the Obama administration's job-creation program. That week he also spoke to a Senate subcommittee, heard from the president at a Brookings event and co-authored a widely dissected article in The New Republic about the reinvention of Detroit. (The article's subheading touted the three-page feature as "a plan for solving America's greatest urban disaster," which gives a clue to the wide berth of authority the media gives Katz.) Months later the cycle is no different: One day he's alongside U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood at a panel discussion on national infrastructure policy, and two days prior he was on a D.C. podium with former Talking Heads singer David Byrne, an avid cyclist, for a talk on the future of urban transportation. A picture of the event shows the compact, bespectacled policymaker sitting behind the wiry, gray-haired musician like a proud doctoral adviser."