Patricia Atkins is a metropolitan governance researcher and works on projects that put local government services on a coordinated regional services platform and studies the processes that facilitate this work.
Her professional academic interests center on intergovernmental relations and policies, particularly public finance, urban growth coordination, interlocal collaboration on public services delivery, regional benchmark indicators, and substate regionalism policy. Her principal research most recently focuses on state and local tax and fiscal policies, as part of the Significant Features of the Property Tax project.
Atkins has decades of professional experience paralleling the growth of regional governance organizations in the United States, including in academia with the Schaefer Center at the University of Baltimore where she was a faculty member and co-edited The Regionalist quarterly journal, and at public policy agencies such as the National Association of Regional Councils where she directed the Institute for the Regional Community.
While at GWIPP, she has conducted project research on state property tax policy, metropolitan economic decline and resurgence, state policy effects on performance of major cities, metropolitan fiscal disparities, management of rapid growth by edge county directors, impact of economic conditions upon the performance of non-profit human services agencies, interlocal collaboration requirements for Greater Washington area regional 2-1-1 delivery, and a state of the region measurement of the metropolitan Washington region.
Her edited book, with David Hamilton, Urban and Regional Policies for Metropolitan Livability, was published in 2008. Research previous to GWIPP includes, as examples, an extensive national state of the regions report, a survey and analysis of emerging regional governance networks, and a guide to intergovernmental agreements.
Among many professional service responsibilities, Atkins was a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Task Force on HUD's Role in Shaping America's Cities and Metropolitan Areas, providing input into the Barack Obama transition team, and she currently serves on the Board of Editors of State and Local Government Review.