Results tagged as "city accelerator"

  • A Conversation with Cities: Local Leaders and Business Owners on Harnessing a City’s Buying Power

    By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, Citi, and Chairman, Citi Foundation November 19, 2018 04:30 PM

    The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative, a collaboration between the Citi Foundation and Living Cities that aims to speed the adoption of innovative local government projects within and across cities that will have a significant impact on the lives of their residents, especially those with low incomes.

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  • Each of These Cities Wants to Grow Its Local Network of Entrepreneurs

    By Matt Baer, Senior Associate for Public Sector Innovation at Living Cities and Rodrick Miller, President & CEO of Ascendant Global June 19, 2018 04:00 PM

    Americans love entrepreneurs.

    Politicians of both parties routinely call small businesses “the backbone of our economy.” Plenty of well-known books and movies profile owners of both real-life and fictional companies; on popular TV shows like "Shark Tank," aspiring entrepreneurs compete for money from successful investors. Countless podcasts, master classes and inspirational online talks have been devoted to small businesses and the self-starters who run them.

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  • A Conversation with Cities: Mayors on Closing Gaps in Infrastructure & Economic Opportunity

    By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, Citi and Chairman of the Citi Foundation October 16, 2017 01:00 PM

    Citi estimates that $59 trillion will need to be spent on infrastructure globally over the next 15 years, a staggering figure that speaks to how much work needs to be done to shore up existing infrastructure and build additional capacity to keep up with urban growth. While the needs are immense, investment in infrastructure in the U.S. at the federal level has fallen to just 1.4% of GDP, and local governments are being challenged to meet the needs of their residents with increasingly limited resources.

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  • Leveraging the Buying Power of Cities: New City Accelerator Uses Innovation to Increase Procurement and Economic Opportunity

    By Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities and Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi May 11, 2017 01:00 PM

    Accelerating economic development remains one of the top priorities for mayors around the country, with an increasing focus on intentionally targeting socioeconomic issues, such as income inequality. Seventy-five percent of mayors highlighted economic development in their 2016 State of the City address, according to the National League of Cities, with 22 percent looking specifically at providing greater support to small businesses and 17 percent mentioning businesses owned by women and people of color.

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  • A Conversation with Cities: Mayors on Making Innovation Stick

    By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, Citi and Chairman of the Citi Foundation July 19, 2016 11:00 AM

    The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative, a collaboration between the Citi Foundation and Living Cities that aims to speed the adoption of innovative local government projects within and across cities that will have a significant impact on the lives of their residents, especially those with low incomes.

    In a period of polarized national politics, citizens are increasingly looking to mayors to solve challenges and get things done. As a financial services institution focused on cities, Citi cares deeply about urban areas and we are proud of our efforts, through our Citi for Cities initiative along with Citi Foundation programming, to help cities manage their growth and thrive. We also know that the challenges facing cities are complex, and that it will take the input and best practices from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to successfully identify and implement innovative solutions.

    For 18 months, the cities of Louisville, Nashville, and Philadelphia have been working to address some of their toughest challenges — from the impact of fires in abandoned buildings to low enrollment in taxpayer benefits to homelessness. While the issues are unique to each city, these cities have a common goal to provide quality services that are accessible to all of their citizens. Each city has collaborated with the City Accelerator to construct tailored strategies to approach their specific challenges. Along the way, they have also had an opportunity to share their obstacles and learnings so that these cities – and many others across the country – can benefit from the process.

    Ahead of their final City Accelerator convening in Philadelphia in July, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney reflected on the changes underway in their cities, and how the initiative has helped their cities to lay the groundwork to ensure their cutting-edge efforts can be sustained.

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  • Beyond the Numbers: Telling the Infrastructure Story

    By Jen Mayer, Cohort Lead, City Accelerator Cohort 3 May 03, 2016 01:00 PM

    The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative supported by the Citi Foundation. The City Accelerator, in collaboration with Living Cities, aims to speed the adoption of local government innovations to improve cities and the lives of their low-income residents.

    The third cohort of the City Accelerator, which formally kicks off April 15th in Denver, includes four cities that need to finance improvements to vital, but often overlooked infrastructure. St. Paul needs to come up with an overall framework and strategy for stormwater control for three critical developments. Pittsburgh needs to identify a strategy to fund, finance and deliver improvements to its historic stairway system. The District of Columbia would like to improve a number of infrastructure projects, including street lighting. San Francisco needs to shore up its seawall.

    At first glance, these projects don’t seem to have a lot in common. Yet each project involves the kind of infrastructure that stays in the background when everything is going right, and only leaps to front and center in the public mind when something goes drastically wrong. Most of us don’t know (or care) much about how stormwater control works in our neighborhood – but when our basement floods, we quickly become very interested! Street lights and stairways are just things that are there – until they aren’t. San Francisco’s seawall is perhaps the most dramatic example of infrastructure that you don’t really see or appreciate until something happens. As we saw with the levees in New Orleans, the cost of failure is so high that it can be worth a huge investment to prevent it.

    Most of the projects in the third cohort don’t involve a single, soaring piece of landmark infrastructure. We’re not talking about the multi-billion dollar New New York Bridge, replacing the Tappan Zee bridge, or even a brand new drinking water plant or solid waste facility. These projects have challenges of their own, of course, but many of the cities are struggling to fund infrastructure networks, like stormwater control structures, street lighting and sidewalks, that are harder to point to and get people to care about until they fail.

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  • Thinking 'Small' to go Big on Innovative Ways to Tackle Urban Housing

    February 05, 2015 03:34 PM

    The following blog post is part of the City Accelerator initiative supported by the Citi Foundation. The City Accelerator, in collaboration with Living Cities, aims to speed the adoption of local government innovations to improve cities and the lives of their low-income residents.

    The small house movement in the United States is slowly gaining attention under the realities of changing lifestyles, an aging population, and evolving financial priorities. Some cities are looking to "tiny homes" as an innovative way to approach urban housing. One example is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the Citi Foundation is supporting a project that is promoting "out-of-the-box" thinking to help young people become successful and independent by age 24. Many of the ideas coming out of that program relate to housing, and specifically small houses. A typical tiny home might be one-tenth the size of a conventional home and a corresponding fraction of the cost. The idea is that these smaller homes can be used to address two components of the emerging housing issue: sustainable housing solutions for the older population and affordable entry-level homes for younger generations.

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  • Want to Innovate? Determine Your City's Greatest Need and Get to Work

    By Ron Littlefield, Former mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., & senior fellow with the Governing Institute December 22, 2014 01:55 PM

    Innovation - also known as change - does not often come easily or naturally to governments. Many times, the stereotypes of slow-moving bureaucracies are not exaggerations.

    Of course, change can be difficult for anyone, but in my experience, outdated systems, policies and procedures tend to hang around far longer in governments. In some cases this is due to insufficient funding for modern equipment and training; in other cases it's simply because employees resist the new and unfamiliar.

    Some years back I remember reviewing specifications for the purchase of a new public works bulldozer. I called the equipment supervisor and asked why he had listed "mechanical drive" as a specification. He replied that this is what the department had always had and what they knew how to operate. I had to inform him that such machines were no longer in production and all new bulldozers were hydraulic drive. Only then was he willing to accept change.

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  • How to Innovate on What Matters Most

    By Nigel Jacob, Urban Technologist-in-Residence, Living Cities December 18, 2014 09:11 AM

    One of the first questions that an innovation team faces is "what do we work on?" This is the central question of government-led innovation teams since it determines where an innovation team spends its time and the sort of impact the team can expect to have. Often these teams may start out working on problems in the "low-hanging fruit" category. This may be useful for building momentum, but it can also pigeonhole the team into certain kinds of work in the eyes of their executive, peers, the public, etc.

    An innovation team cannot afford to be seen as irrelevant. Rather, it should be central - not marginal - in the advancement of the administration's agenda and city residents' highest priorities.

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  • Introducing the City Accelerator's First Cohort

    By Arthur Burris, Director of Public Sector Innovation for Living Cities, and Brandee McHale, COO of the Citi Foundation September 12, 2014 02:53 PM

    Throughout the course of time, the promise of economic opportunity has drawn people to cities in search of a better future. In the United States, the convergence of people from all over the world, and its resulting energy and creativity, has catalyzed innovations that have helped keep American cities relevant and modern. These innovations, however, haven't always translated into economic opportunities for all.

    The City Accelerator seeks to help address this shortfall, with an emphasis on the role innovation can play in helping governments work more effectively and harness that increased capacity to improve the lives of low-income people. Now, we are excited to begin a journey of learning and growth with our first cohort of Accelerator cities - Louisville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., and Philadelphia, Pa. - which will each adopt cutting-edge approaches to the practice of innovation and tackle a specific challenge facing low-income residents in their communities.

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