Building Cities, Building Futures

What are the infrastructure challenges and opportunities faced by U.S. cities and regions? What role can sustainability play in rebuilding critical infrastructure systems? How can sustainable infrastructure be a catalyst for economic competitiveness? How can your city use regional collaboration to plan for its future?



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In 2011, the National League of Cities, with support from Siemens, co-hosted day-long leadership forums with four U.S. cities – Charlotte, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles – to look at the pressing infrastructure issues in these cities and their regions. Building Cities, Building Futures brought together elected officials and business and civic leaders to:

  • Highlight the individual infrastructure issues in each region
  • Explore sustainable approaches and solutions
  • Create linkages to economic competitiveness
  • Benchmark with other cities and regions
  • Identify common threads among the four cities

Houston, July 14, 2011 and Los Angeles, July 20, 2011

The City of Houston, the Houston-Galveston Area Council, and the Center for Houston's Future were NLC’s local partners in developing the content for Houston’s program.  Some of the key issues that were addressed were green water infrastructure development, livability, and collaborative partnerships.

In Los Angeles, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) was integral in developing a program with NLC that focused on transportation issues in the area ranging from a regional vision for transportation, to freight movement, to financing.

Summary report of the Houston and Los Angeles events

Charlotte, September 15, 2011

A variety of water infrastructure topics were on the agenda at Building Cities, Building Futures Charlotte. The City of Charlotte and the Centralina Council of Governments mapped out an agenda which included the impacts of climate change, water policy and regulation, jurisdictional water issues and state regulation and smart grid technology.

Summary report of the Charlotte event

Chicago, September 20, 2011

The final stop on the tour was Chicago where participants explored a variety of financing issues for both water and transportation infrastructure.  The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and the University of Illinois at Chicago helped develop a robust agenda featuring regional experts.

Summary report of the Chicago event