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
May 29
Cityscape 2018
Cityscape 2018
  • City Government
  • Infrastructure

Each year, mayors across the nation detail their vision for their city’s future in a seminal address—their state of the city speech. These speeches have taken on new significance as mayors emerge as focal points in the intergovernmental context. While many state and federal partners are mired in political gridlock or actively disinvesting in cities, mayors consistently demonstrate the capacity…

  • Center for City Solutions
May 24
blockchain imagery
blockchain imagery
  • Technology
  • Civic Tech
  • Sharing Economy

Public trust in American lawmakers (particularly at the national level), elections and democratic institutions has plummeted in recent years. While there are many contributing factors, the explosion of digital information, digital misinformation and outright abuse has played a major role in this downward trend. To restore confidence in the core tenets of our society, leaders need solutions…

  • Center for City Solutions
Apr 02
  • Health & Wellness
  • Opioid Crisis

Ahead of the planned Mayors’ Institute on opioids in May, the YEF Institute’s Health and Wellness team released a new report, “Opioid Use Disorder: City Actions and Opportunities to Address the Epidemic.”  This resource for cities contains short examples of efforts in cities from across the county, including an emphasis on state and local strategies that inform our collective efforts to…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
  • Center for City Solutions
Mar 07
Skyline
Skyline
  • Economic Development

The national urban-rural divide narrative is one that touts (or bemoans) the all-consuming growth of our nation’s largest cities and laments rural communities as devoid of economic potential. But this isn't the whole story. 

In a challenge to the conventional narrative, Bridging the Urban-Rural Economic Divide finds that stronger links between urban and rural areas are key to spurring…

  • Center for City Solutions
Feb 13
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Water & Green Infrastructure
  • Air Pollution
  • Energy
  • Building

In American cities, green design continues to expand its influence. Solar panels, porous pavement, and green roofs are all catching on as ways for developers to reduce environmental impacts of buildings. But what happens when these features and other smart surface design elements are deployed throughout a neighborhood, or even an entire city?

Delivering Urban Resilience is the first…

  • Sustainable Cities Institute
  • Infrastructure & Sustainability
Nov 15
  • Technology
  • Equity
  • Infrastructure
  • Public Safety
  • Economic Development

As cities embrace a future permeated by technology, local leaders must continually reassert and revisit community values, while ensuring these values are the foundation of new plans, policies, and programs. 

This is particularly true in the areas of infrastructure, public safety and economic development, which are consistently identified as top issues of…

  • Urban Innovation
Nov 13
  • City Government
  • Economic Development
  • Finance

The nation’s smaller cities and towns have a culture, vibrancy and uniqueness all their own.

While innovations such as driverless cars, demand-price parking and data-crunching sensor networks might be pioneered in big urban centers, there is much creativity and dynamic problem solving going on in communities with populations fewer than 50,000 residents—those…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
  • Pension
  • Retirement
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The state of retirement funding has become an obvious fiscal concern for city governments, especially since the Great Recession.

As pension challenges have become more apparent in recent years, local elected officials have increased expectations to ensure the health and viability of their pension plans. As a result, city leaders must be equipped…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
Maker
Maker
  • Economic Development
  • Equity

As the maker economy continues to take shape in cities across the country, it is emerging as a potential powerhouse for building strong local economies through creative maker- microbusinesses and small-scale manufacturing.

As this nascent industry of small businesses expands and transforms, city leaders should understand what the maker economy is and how to…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
MBK Picture
MBK Picture
  • Equity
  • Leadership & Management
  • Community

City leaders are responding to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge by tackling the disparities that face our nation’s boys and men of color (BMoC). REAL’s report “The City Leader’s Compass to the My Brother’s Keeper Landscape, highlights a comprehensive set of tangible steps cities can take to change systems and improve outcomes for BMoC.

"I accepted…

  • Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL)