Research & Publications

The National League of Cities strives to strengthen communities, transform and improve cities, and serve as a resource for local elected officials. Our research and publications advance these goals by providing critical data, identifying promising city practices, sharing inspiring and informative stories, and fostering effective solutions and innovation. Through original content such as reports, issue briefs, news articles and blog posts, we explore the issues facing cities today and foster a dialogue that helps city leaders build better communities.

Recent
Feb 07
  • Preemption

Home rule is a longstanding legal principle that gives us the power to decide which services we provide, the policies we implement, and the ways we solve problems locally. In 1953, the American Municipal Association (AMA) — which became the National League of Cities (NLC) in 1964 — published the last comprehensive proposed reform of home rule, sparking a wave of state constitutional change in…

  • Center for City Solutions
Feb 05
  • Civic Engagement

In 2020, for the first time, millions of U.S. residents can respond online to the census, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will use handheld devices to conduct the decennial count, and news about the census will travel through social media channels in real time. Our nation’s first “digital” census presents myriad opportunities for a truly participatory count, but a number of issues—…

  • Center for City Solutions
Feb 05
Indianapolis Bus
Indianapolis Bus
  • Federal
  • Transportation

Local leaders are committed to playing a larger role in rebuilding America’s infrastructure collaboratively with our regional, state and federal partners. Transportation is changing and our investments will need to change too. Communities are looking to partner on and invest in the transportation needs and mobility of residents to showcase how we move forward as a nation.

2020 will be…

  • Federal Advocacy
Jan 30
  • Pedestrian
  • Infrastructure

City residents are increasingly seeking out spaces where they can meet friends for a cup of coffee, do some shopping, or simply stroll around and enjoy their communities. And city leaders are responding by developing pedestrian zones and spaces that reduce the impact of automobiles.

Pedestrian zones are areas that are permanently, periodically or occasionally closed to vehicular…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 20
Restoring City Rights in an Era of Preemption
Restoring City Rights in an Era of Preemption
  • Preemption

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.

After reading "Restoring City Rights in the Era of Preemption," you will learn:

How to talk about preemption…
  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 19
  • Innovation Districts
  • Placemaking

Increasingly, where workers live dictates what economic options they have, and these regional disparities in economic opportunity are pulling America apart. Traditional policies are no longer sufficient to address the emergence of geographic inequality.

In "Place-Based Policies For America's Innovation Economy," you will:

Learn the history of place-based policies Discover why…
  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 18
2020 Cities Agenda: Leading Together
2020 Cities Agenda: Leading Together
  • Advocacy

An Agenda for the 2020 Presidential Election from America’s Local Leaders

We are America’s local elected leaders. We are the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We may disagree on some issues, but we are united in the belief that our nation is strongest when all levels of government…

  • Federal Advocacy
Nov 04
Main Street
Main Street
  • Opportunity Zones

The opportunity zones program was launched as a way to address the many pockets of poverty and inequity around the country. But what are opportunity zones and how will they affect your city? 

NLC's new guide should seen as an invaluable foundational tool for local leaders in every state.

In this guide, you will:

Learn about the opportunity zones program Uncover best…
  • Center for City Solutions
Oct 28
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Housing

The broad goal of this project is to provide a resource to help city leaders implement effective strategies for emergency response and crisis stabilization for individuals experiencing mental illness, substance use disorder and/or homelessness. City leaders may adapt the strategies to address their city’s specific challenges in these areas.

Brief No. 1: …

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
  • Health & Wellness
Oct 24
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
  • Finance
  • Taxation
  • Revenue

This year's City Fiscal Conditions research looked at the fiscal conditions and factors across 500+ U.S. cities.

Some key takeaways?

Almost two in three finance officers in large cities are predicting a recession as soon as 2020 Cities' revenue growth stalled in the 2018 fiscal year, but this year's continued drop indicates mounting pressures on city budgets The Midwest is…
  • Center for City Solutions