The Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies strives to be:
- A key resource in the production of “usable” knowledge for the public, private, and nonprofit sector development in Newark, the northern region of New Jersey, and beyond.
Using a variety of research methods and tools, the Cornwall Center is committed to producing timely reports, briefing papers, and books that document innovative strategies, programs, and policies. We say “usable knowledge” because, while our written work aims to meet the highest research standard that time and resources will allow, we also maintain that the research must fit the problem. Technique cannot substitute for substance and analysis. Our goal, then, is to produce important research that encourages thought, questions, and ultimately action by all stakeholders working in a specific issue area as well as those in the general public.
- A central force convening key individuals and institutions within civil society as they engage in and pursue the economic, political, and cultural revitalization of Newark.
Convening without strategy frustrates people – even those who understand that change is a complicated process. The Cornwall Center uses large- and small-scale meetings to bring together key actors for any given issue area with the goal of encouraging collaboration and progress. A secondary goal of our convening work is to document key learning to share with a wide audience. Much of our convening is conducted under the auspices and support of a requesting institution, such as a foundation, local or regional public sector organization, or civil society group.
- A forceful agent for the economic and administrative coordination and cooperation of Newark and its surrounding communities.
The United States is a nation dominated by its regions and metropolises. Economic and political trends have sometimes strengthened suburbs and outlying communities at the expense of cities. While there are powerful market forces underlying these trends, the Cornwall Center holds that the result need not be a net negative for all concerned. Other regions have found opportunities to exercise mutual self-interest between cities and their surrounding communities. The need to find common ground is increasingly supported by shifting problems and challenges traditionally identified within both cities and suburbs. The Cornwall Center, through our research and convening function, will pursue any opportunity to build ties between Newark and its region.
- A national model for what a university-based center can accomplish by working with regional, local, and community partners.
Though universities have always played a significant role in social and economic development in their proximate communities, that role has been less recognized given the university’s unique mission to seek objective truth and educate citizens broadly. Today the conversation about the role of universities in social and economic development is not about whether they should play a role, but about the extent and richness of that role. University-based centers, such as the Cornwall Center, often act as a portal to link the university and its community. We are in a continual search to make the Center a valuable asset to our university colleagues and community partners.