Center for City Solutions

The National League of Cities' Center for City Solutions provides research, education and analysis on key topics and trends that impact the people in America's communities. We help local leaders build strong communities by expanding their capacity, elevating successful city practices, providing in-depth research and tools, and finding and implementing on-the-ground solutions. The primary areas we work within are:

  • Sustainability and Smart Cities,
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Housing and Community Development,
  • Economic Development and Finance,
  • City-State Relations and Local Democracy,
  • International Engagement, and
  • Leadership Education and Coaching
Urban Innovation

The Center for City Solutions explores and predicts future advancements so that cities can anticipate changes in the urban landscape and prepare accordingly.

The City of the Future initiative is a multi-year research project analyzing five different factors that will shape the evolution of cities in the coming decades including:  technology, workforce automation, culture and demographics, economics, and climate.  

NLC's Cities and Drones analysis provides insight into the recently released federal rules relating to drone operation, and offers suggestions for how local governments can craft their own drone ordinances that encourage innovation while also protecting their cities. 

The Sharing Economy initiative analyzes the new paradigm of "collaborative consumption" through research and knowledge sharing.

The Smart Cities initiative educates city officials on the dynamic shift being catalyzed by the growing internet of things environment that supports municipal decision making across a range of sectors.  

NLC's Small Cell Wireless Technology in Cities municipal action guide offers an unbiased explanation of how small cell technology works, and what kinds of considerations city leaders need to keep in mind when implementing -- or not implementing -- this infrastructure.

+ Read More 


NLC's Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI) is the urban stakeholder's hub for local climate leadership.

Our Leadership in Community Resilience Fellowship works with ten cities each year to build frameworks for developing, implementing, and evaluating local sustainability and resilience practices. Participating cities present their efforts and insights at NLC's Resilient Cities Summit.

The SolSmart program offers cities technical assistance to improve access and affordability in local solar projects.  With funding from the Department of Energy, the SolSmart program is also developing a new "scorecard" rating system and designation to recognize successful solar energy practices.  

+ Read More

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The City Innovation Ecosystem program promotes and supports public, private, and civic leaders that champion innovation, entrepreneurship and STEM education in their cities.

+ Read More

NLC University

NLC University is a collaborative education and professional development initiative developed by the National League of Cities that helps municipal leaders – both elected and appointed – build the skills they need to better govern, serve, and advocate for their communities.

+ Read More

Housing & Community Development

Each year, in partnership with the Urban Land Institute, the Daniel Rose Fellowship invites four large-city mayors to serve as fellows and participate in one year of technical assistance with land use experts focusing on an urban development challenge of their choosing.

As part of the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship, the Rose Center invites a cohort of six cities to select fellowship teams that receive technical assistance and share best practices to bring an intentional focus on communities that have been historically disconnected from economic growth and prosperity.

+ Read More

The Housing Rehabilitation for Veterans with Disabilities program helps cities streamline services and offer stable housing for veterans.

+ Read More

We've published an online resource your city can use to learn all about opportunity zones and how they'll impact your community.

+Read More

City Governance

At the heart of local government decision making are the forms, types, and structures of cities. The Cities 101 Fact Sheets provide information on these issues, as well as the topics of elections, finance, charters, and local governing powers.

Officials & Powers

Forms & Types



Local Democracy and Preemption

Every community has different needs. It is crucial that local leaders are given the autonomy to determine what will help their residents.

Every day, city leaders are working to improve the health and welfare of their communities and the people who live there. But instead of partnership and support, many cities in recent years have confronted state politics and interference.

NLC's Local Democracy Initiative seeks to strengthen the capacity and vibrancy of local governance through research and engagement on the issue of state preemption. 

+ Read More

Staff Specialties
  • Christopher Abbott, Program Manager, NLC University
  • Scott Andes, Program Director, City Innovation Ecosystems
  • Jim Brooks, Director, Housing and Community Development
  • Laura Cofsky, Senior Communications & Marketing Specialist
  • Dana D'Orazio, Program Director, Education & Leadership
  • Kyle Funk, Program Specialist, Center for City Solutions
  • Terrah W. Glenn, Senior Program Specialist, Housing 
  • Alex Jones, Program Manager, Center for City Solutions
  • Nicholas Kasza, Program Manager, Sustainability
  • Rose Kim, Program Specialist, Center for City Solutions
  • Lauren Lowery, Program Director, Housing and Community Development
  • Anna Marandi, Senior Program Specialist, Sustainability
  • Cooper Martin, Director, Sustainability and Solutions
  • Christiana McFarland, Director, Research
  • Su Nu, Senior Program Specialist, NLC University
  • Brooks Rainwater, Senior Executive & Director, Center for City Solutions
  • Brenna Rivett, Program Manager, Center for City Solutions
  • Spencer Wagner, Program Specialist, Local Democracy
  • Anita Yadavalli, Program Director, City Fiscal Policy