Building One America
In 2007, two small towns in Pennsylvania requested academic research about suburbanization and the neglect of older communities outside of Philadelphia.
My research focused on Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties and uncovered that these communities faced sustained problems that needed to be addressed regarding electrical infrastructure, water management, transportation, and education. Since these issues were brought to the forefront, within two years, a statewide coalition of 'first suburbs' came together to change the state budget under Governor Edward Rendell. These changes brought billions of dollars in new funding to these communities. Moreover, their success in the Keystone state inspired national interest.
In the wake of the financial collapse in 2007-2009, the model for new waves of public investment became part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This law brought almost $300 billion in community investments across the United States between 2010 and 2013.