Sustainable Cities Institute
Sustainable Cities Institute

Sustainable Cities Institute

About SCI

The Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI) is your hub for climate leadership in local government.

The Sustainable Cities Institute provides convening opportunities, direct technical assistance and leadership training for cities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of a changing climate. We help cities identify and implement proven strategies to preserve clean air, clean water, and clean land.

At the National League of Cities, SCI helps elected officials in more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns identify and pursue the strategies that work best for them and for their residents. Our programs develop local political leadership that will put America on a path that is more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

Meet the SCI Staff

Photos of Cooper Martin & Nick Kasza, SCI program staff

Cooper Martin
Program Director

Nick Kasza
Senior Associate



Cities Harnessing the Sun: Solar Designation and Consulting Services through SolSmart

The Sustainable Cities Institute is proud to be part of the SolSmart team, helping cities throughout the United States capitalize on a booming solar energy market and providing citizens the option of more affordable and accessible renewable energy. SolSmart, funded by U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to nationally recognize local solar achievements. Additionally, SolSmart will empower new communities to become solar leaders and achieve national designation through no-cost technical assistance provided by the Sustainable Cities Institute and a team of national solar experts. Our team will work with elected officials, city staff, and community members to help cities update their solar processes using established best practices. 

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Community Resilience

Leadership in Community Resilience

The Leadership in Community Resilience program brings together a cohort of cities to share their experiences and advance local resilience efforts. Now in its second year, the program promotes peer learning and offers a network of technical assistance partners to strengthen public engagement, train staff, improve resource management practices, and more.

2019 Program

2018 Program


Building Institutional Leadership, Public Support and Political Will for Climate Solutions in the United States.

The National League of Cities and ecoAmerica are proud to collaborate on an engagement program that supports NLC members in their efforts to promote renewable energy, clean air, and climate solutions.

Our Path to Positive Communities program inspires and empowers local climate leadership in America’s cities, towns, and counties. Through Path to Positive Communities, ecoAmerica helps cities and counties:

Path to Positive Communities Logo
  • Demonstrate Visible Climate Leadership
  • Create Climate Literate Local Leaders
  • Engage their Communities and Citizens
  • Accelerate Collective Action

One of the most important skills for local elected officials is leading their community in productive and civil debate, particularly in today’s political environment. You need to communicate with your residents using messages that are clear, positive, inclusive, and relevant to their concerns. Nowhere is this more challenging than on issues related to climate and environmental policy.

A key step is to ensure that mayors are well equipped to communicate local climate solutions to leaders and residents.

This partnership provides that support. Featuring research-proven practices for successful climate communication, we can help every community leader sharpen their climate communications skills. From talking points to counterpoints, “dos” and “don’ts,” proven steps to create your own custom message, and a model speech, the partnership helps you to successfully integrate climate into conversations, speaking engagements, and other communications.

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WaterNow Alliance

The WaterNow Alliance: Jumpstart Sustainable Water Solutions in Your Community

Cities have an obligation to maintain clean, healthy water for their citizens, and local governments construct, operate, and maintain between 95-98 percent of the country’s water infrastructure networks.


SCI has partnered with the WaterNow Alliance to build a network of local elected officials with decision-making authority over their municipal water utilities. Together, we’re promoting innovative practices that accelerate green infrastructure, encourage greater urban water efficiency, and promote watershed health.

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Latest Research

Rethinking Recycling: How Cities Can Adapt to Evolving Markets

today, the recycling industry is in the midst of a global crisis precipitated by China’s latest waste import policy, National Sword. Cities throughout the U.S., as well as private haulers and operators of materials recovery facilities (MRFs), must reevaluate their operations and policies in order to adapt and maintain viable municipal materials management systems. Learn more.