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Julie Wagner

Brookings Institution
Nonresident Senior Fellow & Co-Director, Bass Initiative on Innovation & Placemaking
Lugano, Switzerland

Julie Wagner is a nonresident senior fellow with the Centennial Scholar Initiative and co-director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution, for which she co-authored the paper “The Rise of Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in the United States.” She subsequently wrote articles on the new geography of innovation for the Harvard Business Review, Fortune Magazine, Quartz, and The Guardian. Also for Brookings, Julie designed and led the initial framework for the Global Cities Initiative, a significant global effort whose aim is to expand the global reach of cities.

Living in Europe, Julie also provides strategic guidance to advance the competitiveness of cities including Barcelona, Torino, Amsterdam, and Brussels. She has trained numerous European cities on how to design public involvement strategies for large-scale urban projects. She is the author of a European Commission handbook on the topic, which was subsequently translated into six languages. 

A trained city planner, Julie served as a deputy planning director for Washington, DC, where she developed the city’s long-range plan, orchestrated the development of neighborhood plans for 131 neighborhoods, and managed all controversial land use disputes regarding projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. She also designed a strategy with the Washington, DC Library Board of Trustees, successfully securing $120 million to transform the library system. Earlier in her career, Julie designed and led public involvement projects for controversial projects in the Portland, Oregon region.

Wagner earned a Masters in City Planning at MIT in Massachusetts. She has received several planning awards at MIT and from the American Planning Association for her work. She was trained in conflict resolution and police mediation in Portland, Oregon.