High Road Publications

Below is a list of our reports related to the high road, in descending order by year published. Explore other topics here and all COWS reports here.

  • In May 2022, Kenosha-based Bear Development and Kacmarcik Enterprises announced plans to begin work on a soccer stadium accompanied by ancillary, mixed-use developments – “The Iron District” – in downtown Milwaukee. This report centers the question of how to ensure true community benefits from public investment in private interests such as the Iron District. If local political leaders commit public money to private projects in Milwaukee, then political leaders must secure and advance the public interest. A strong Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) is the most certain and robust way for communities to obtain real and lasting returns from large-scale private developments.

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  • Developers often approach cities disguising their private ventures as irresistible public goods. Asking for public money for sports stadiums and entertainment venues, they promise economic development, urban renewal, and neighborhood revitalization. Despite the big promises, public investments are often neither transparent nor accountable. As a result, securing public benefit from these deals is rare.

    Developers have seized soccer’s increasing popularity to design soccer stadium projects with ancillary commercial and residential development in urban centers across the nation. As with other urban developments and sports stadiums, the payoffs for communities remain murky at best.

    This trend has come to Milwaukee. In May 2022, Kenosha-based Bear Development and Kacmarcik Enterprises released a development plan for an “Iron District” on the southwestern end of downtown Milwaukee. Playing with Public Money in Milwaukee provides Milwaukee residents and political leaders background information and additional context as this proposal is considered, offering an overview of relevant research on the economic impact of sports arenas and information on recent public investment in soccer stadiums in five other cities.

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  • Laura Dresser, and Walker Kahn. Toward a New Tradition in "Nontraditional Occupations". COWS, 2021.

    For decades, a handful of women have been celebrated as pioneers in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution careers. Despite years of work, these occupations remain “nontraditional” for women and people of color and present unique barriers and challenges. Raising Women’s Success in Apprenticeship (RSWA) is driving systemic change to make these industries more open, accepting, and inclusive of nontraditional workers. This report summarizes the network’s work, identifies key factors of success for getting women into nontraditional jobs, and identifies the remaining challenges that will require a substantial change in policy and practice to make success for women the norm.

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  • Xavier de Sousa Briggs, and Joel Rogers. “A More Democratic Federalism?”. Democracy, Vol. 62, 2021.
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  • Scott Bernstein, and Joel Rogers. 7 Steps to Municipal Resilience & Recovery. COWS, 2021, p. 9.
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  • Joel Rogers. Biden’s Task and Ours. Vol. 50, no. 4, Social Policy, 2020, p. 9.
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  • City leaders, including mayors, play a critical role in community wealth building and are this brief’s intended audience. However, this work requires multiple actors, including community organizers and developers. This brief is useful to anyone committed to equitable economic development in their community but is intended primarily for city leaders. This report was made possible by generous funding from the Surdna Foundation.

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  • Joel Rogers, Kevin Knutson, and Mike Bell. Productive Places in a Post-Pandemic Era: A Roadmap for Cities and Counties. Envisio Blog, 2020.
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  • Joel Rogers. How About Productive Democracy for a Change. no. 1, Social Policy, 2020, pp. 19-25.
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  • Kristinn Már Ársælsson, and Joel Rogers. Digital’s Promise for Worker Organizing: A 2018 Update. LIFT (Labor Innovation for the 21st Century), 2019.

    Digital tools and technologies—most familiarly, apps, websites, internet search engines and social media platforms—have become a central and pervasive feature of our lives.

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