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David Rusk, author of “Cities without Suburbs” and former mayor of Albuquerque, joins D.C. Policy Center as a Senior Fellow

April 26, 2017
  • D.C. Policy Center



David Rusk, author of Cities without Suburbs and former mayor of Albuquerque, joins the D.C. Policy Center as a Senior Fellow


Washington D.C., April 26, 2017 – The D.C. Policy Center is pleased to welcome David Rusk as a new senior fellow.

David combines strong analytical skills with practical political experience. He is a former federal Labor Department official, New Mexico legislator, and mayor of Albuquerque, the USA’s 32nd largest city.

Now a consultant on urban policy, David has worked in over 130 US communities in 35 states. Abroad, he has lectured on urban problems in Canada, England, Germany, South Africa, and The Netherlands.

The Congressional Quarterly labeled his book Cities without Suburbs “the Bible of the regionalism movement.” “A must read,” said the Government Finance Review of Inside Game/Outside Game.

In 1991, David and his wife, the former Delcia Bence of Buenos Aires, Argentina, returned from Albuquerque to Washington, D.C. They had lived here from 1963 to 1971 when David worked for the Washington Urban League (March on Washington to Poor People’s Campaign) and where all three of their children were born.

Though a local resident, David estimates that 99% of his work has been for clients outside the Washington area. His last major local presentation was as keynote speaker to the annual issues conference of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in December 1999. In approaching the topic of sustainable development and livable communities, he offered WASHCOG six propositions and illustrated them with metro Washington data:

1) The two factors that characterize America’s metropolitan development patterns in the last four or five decades are sprawl and race, linked together most clearly through the concentration of poverty.

2) Concentrated poverty is a racialized phenomenon.

3) Though racial segregation is declining slowly, economic segregation is increasing steadily.

4) Rolling back the concentration of poverty requires changing the“rules of the game” in our regional housing markets.

5) Building new highways or widening existing highways are not primarily transportation decisions but land development decisions.

6) Higher density, more compact development is not the enemy of but the very basis of a high quality of urban life.

We’ve suggested that revisiting those propositions almost eighteen years later, updated by new data analyses, would be an excellent way to begin sharing his experience and insights with our local policy community. Over coming months, David will write a dozen analytic articles for the D.C. Policy Center, revisiting these propositions.  David’s first piece will be published tomorrow.

We welcome David to the D.C. Policy Center, and invite you to read his work.


D.C. Policy Center




D.C. Policy Center

Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

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