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.

Recent Publications

-How Drones And Driverless Cars Raise Questions For The Future Of City Services
-Rethinking Our Cities to Fight Obesity
-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.

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

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

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.

Recent Publications

-City Fiscal Conditions 2013
-Untangling the Skills Mismatch Debate: Implications for Local Economic Development
-Why We Should Care about Public Sector Job Loss

Julia Pulidindi

Senior Associate, Infrastructure

Julia Pulidindi is a Senior Associate in the City Solutions and Applied Research Center. She manages NLC's best practice and research work on transportation and telecommunications and helps local leaders communicate the impact of infrastructure projects in their communities. Julia's area of expertise includes transportation planning and funding, broadband access and adoption, and technology solutions for local government services.

Recent Publications

-TIGER Grants Help Clean up the "Mercer Mess" in Seattle
-Fresno Leverages TIGER Grants for Complete Streets Planning
-TIGER Helps Orlando Connect Neighborhoods with New BRT Line
-Connecting Local Communities: The Relationship Between Broadband and Economic Development

Emily Robbins

Senior Associate, Finance & Economic Development

Emily Robbins is the Senior Associate for Finance and Economic Development in the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at NLC. Her research focuses on helping city leaders create strong local economies and improve the cost-effectiveness of city operations. Specifically, Emily works on issues related to small business development and data-driven performance management.

Recent Publications

-Small Businesses Saturday Can - and Should - Last All Year Round
-Show and Tell: Cities Share Best Practices at the Big Ideas for Small Business Summit

Raksha Vasudevan

Senior Associate, Sustainability

Raksha Vasudevan is the Senior Sustainability Associate in City Solutions & Applied Research. She manages the sustainability program, including the Sustainable Cities Institute; maintenance of critical partnerships with sustainability stakeholders; and "great practices" research on a range of city sustainability topics. Raksha's specific interests lie at the intersection of climate change, water, and participatory planning.

Recent Publications

-Bringing Nutritious, Affordable Food to Underserved Communities: A Snapshot of Healthy Corner Store Initiatives
-Climate Change Doesn't Recognize City Boundaries
-Dubuque Gets Engaged: The Critical Role of Partnerships in Moving Sustainability Forward
-The Devil is in the Design Details: Strategies to Enhance Transit Experience