Center for City Solutions

The Center for City Solutions cultivates knowledge, elevates innovation, and helps prepare cities for the future. The Center delivers research, best practices, technical assistance, and leadership education through its applied research group, the Rose Center for Public Leadership, the Sustainable Cities Institute, and the NLC University divisions. Through this work, the Center for City Solutions expands the capacity of city leaders to create strong local economies, vibrant neighborhoods, world-class infrastructure, and a sustainable environment. For quick access to models in local practices, use the City Solutions Database.

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.

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The Rose Center

The Rose Center for Public Leadership promotes excellence in land use decision making, as well as, equity and inclusiveness in economic development policy, programming, and funding by local governments.

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 new 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.

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Sustainable Cities Institute

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.  

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City Innovation Ecosystems

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

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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.

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

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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



Staff Specialties

Brooks Rainwater, Senior Executive & Director, Center for City Solutions

Christopher Abbott, Senior Associate, NLC University

Jim Brooks, City Solutions Director

Gideon Berger, Program Director, Daniel Rose Fellowship

Shafaq Choudry, Senior Associate, Leadership in Community Resilience

Carlos Delgado, Senior Associate, Equitable Economic Development Fellowship

Nicole DuPuis, Principal Associate, Urban Innovation

Terrah W. Glenn, Senior Associate, Housing Policy  

Elisha Harig-Blaine, Principal Associate, Housing, Veterans & Special Needs

Nicholas Kasza, Senior Associate, Solar Energy

Laura Lanford, Manager, NLC University

Trevor Langan, Research Associate

David Maloney, Director of Strategic Development

Cooper Martin, Program Director, Sustainable Cities Institute

Christiana McFarland, Research Director

Emily Robbins, Principal Associate, Economic Development

Jess Zimbabwe, Director of Urban Development & Leadership