Our cities are constantly changing, with new technologies emerging and labor markets shifting as we recover and rebuild from the pandemic. How city leaders respond to these changes will determine how well their residents adapt and thrive. The Future of Cities initiative helps local leaders understand the changes that are already happening in their communities, while anticipating the game-changing trends that will define cities in the coming decades. 

Through research and engagement with local leaders and industry experts, NLC is exploring the impacts of these emerging changes providing cities with tangible recommendations to prepare for them in the long term. City leaders will learn how they can leverage these moments of change to improve their communities, advance equity and inclusion, and enhance quality of life for their residents.

The initiative focuses on a variety of topics relevant to our cities today, including:

  • Public space and economic opportunity
  • Equity
  • Work and workforce
  • Technology and mobility

City leaders are on the frontlines of fast change and innovation. NLC’s Future of Cities initiative will help them understand the critical issues they will face and determine how to navigate them in the years to come.

Areas of Focus

Public Space and Economic Opportunity

Public Space and Economic Opportunity

The pandemic changed the way people use public space and access retail, requiring city leaders to reconsider how they can make these changes more permanent to benefit their residents’ economic success, health and safety.

Equity

Equity

As cities embrace a future increasingly driven by technology, local leaders will need to reassess their community values to ensure the principles of equity and diversity drive new plans, policies and programs.

Work and Workforce

Work and Workforce

Advances in information technology and artificial intelligence are already changing what “work” means in cities across the country. City leaders need to be prepared to support their residents that work in sectors that will be heavily impacted by technology.

Technology and Mobility

Technology and Mobility

As the world becomes more interconnected and technologically advanced, city leaders must harness this emerging technology and rely on data and experience to ensure that their cities are equitable and enjoyable for all.