Staff Specialties

Brooks Rainwater

Center Director, City Solutions & Applied Research

Brooks Rainwater is the Director of the City Solutions and Applied Research Center. He oversees NLC's research, research partnerships, and community engagement efforts to strengthen the capacity of municipal leaders to create strong local economies, safe and vibrant neighborhoods, world-class infrastructure, and a sustainable environment. Brooks' areas of expertise include economic development, urban innovation, and sustainability.  >Click here for extended biography.

Recent Publications

-Open Data is Finally Making a Dent in Cities
-State of the Cities 2014
-The Sharing Economy: An Analysis of Semtiment Surrounding Homesharing and Ridesharing
-Innovation Districts Create New Urban Spaces for Creativity and Growth

Jim Brooks

Director, City Solutions

James Brooks is the City Solutions Director. He is responsible for identifying, analyzing and reporting on best and promising practices among municipal governments in the U.S. and abroad. Areas of expertise include housing, neighborhood and community development, infrastructure, civic engagement, and international urbanism.  >Click here for extended biography. 

Recent Publications

-Growing Baltimore, Neighborhood by Neighborhood
-Resilient Cities in a Transforming State: Local Visions of Place Making in Arizona
-Better City Plans Through More Public Engagement

Christy McFarland

Director, Research

Christiana McFarland is NLC's Research Director. She leads NLC's efforts to transform city-level data into information that strengthens the capacity of city leaders and that raises awareness of challenges, trends and successes in cities. Her areas of expertise include economic development, workforce development, and municipal finance. >Click here for extended biography.

Recent Publications

-City Fiscal Conditions 2014
-State of the Cities 2014
-Performance Management: A Guide For City Leaders

Nicole DuPuis

Senior Associate, Infrastructure

Nicole DuPuis is a Senior Associate in the City Solutions and Applied Research Center. She manages NLC's best practice research work on transportation, public works, and telecommunications and helps local leaders communicate the impact of infrastructure projects in their communities. Nicole's areas of expertise include transportation planning and governance, broadband access and adoption, and public utility regulation.

Recent Publications

-The Who, What, and Why of Google Fiber
-The Sentiment on Sharing is Shifting
-Cities Succeed Where Feds Have Fallen Short on Transportation
-What is a Muni Network?  Here are the Basics.

Micah Farver

Associate, Finance & Economic Development

Micah Farver is an Associate for Finance and Economic Development in the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at NLC. Micah leads NLC's work on the annual State of the Cities research project and provides research and project assistance to the finance and economic development team.

Recent Publications

-State of the Cities in 2014
-State of the Cities in 2014: Methodology

Terrah W. Glenn

Research Assistant to the Center Director

Terrah W. Glenn is the Research Assistant to the Director of the NLC's Center for City Solutions & Applied Research.   In addition to pursuing dual Master's degrees in the fields of Urban and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture Terrah works on the Center's full range of research priorities with special emphasis on the areas of Urban Innovation and Sustainability.

Recent Publications

-City Open Data Policies

Elisha Harig-Blaine

Principal Associate, Housing (Veteran's & Special Needs)

Elisha Harig-Blaine is the Principal Housing Associate for the National League of Cities, connecting local leaders to best practices and efforts working to end veteran homelessness. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, he has worked for more than 15 years on homelessness and affordable housing at the local, state, and federal levels.

Recent Publications

-Phoenix Makes Historic Announcement About Veterans
-The Homeless Veteran Outside NLC
-Veterans' Housing Project - Eugene, OR
-Project H3: VETS and HEROS Initiative - Phoenix, AZ


Cooper Martin

Program Director, Sustainable Cities Institute

Cooper Martin is the Program Director for the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities. The SCI program provides information, tools, and guidance to strengthen communities and enable them to thrive while facing the challenges presented by a changing climate and uncertain global economy. His areas of expertise include climate resilience, community development, smart growth, and emergency management.

Recent Publications

-Managing Municipal Risk in the Face of Climate Change
-Cities Make Sustainability the New Business-As-Ususal
-To Thrive in 21st Century, America Must Be a Nation of Resilient Cities

Soren Messner-Zidell

Senior Associate, Research & Data Visualization

Soren is the Senior Associate for Research and Data Visualization. He specializes in information design, data visualization, and visual storytelling. He creates compelling data-driven visual products across a variety of mediums, ranging from traditional publications to static information graphics and motion graphics.

Recent Infographics

-The Sharing Economy: Connecting Cities and the New Economy
-City Fiscal Condition in 2014
-Veteran Homelessness:  Keys to Progress

Emily Robbins

Senior Associate, Finance & Economic Development

Emily Robbins is Senior Associate for Finance and Economic Development at NLC. Her research focuses on providing strategies to city leaders for creating strong local economies and improving the efficiency of city operations. Specifically, Emily works on issues related to small business development, entrepreneurship, and data-driven performance management systems.  >Click here for extended biography.

Recent Publications

-Performance Management: A Guide for City Leaders
-Cities Focus on Talent, Quality of Life to Grow Local Economies
-Big Ideas for Small Business Report