As local government resources contract and challenges ranging from economic inequality to infrastructure compound, cities must design new and more effective responses. Cities are increasingly looking for ways to implement promising innovations that will have a significant impact in the lives of their residents, especially those with low incomes. The City Accelerator, an initiative of Living Cities and the Citi Foundation, aims to help accelerate the adoption of such innovations within and across cities.
The City Accelerator will work with three cohorts of three cities each over an 18-month period to advance innovative efforts that improve the lives of low-income people and help cities run more effectively. Cities participating in each cohort will outline the progress that they intend to make in advancing innovative practice over the duration of the cohort, and then will use a number of program elements to accelerate progress on their work, including: an innovation guidebook that highlights how leading practices can be concretely adapted; periodic convenings to learn from other cities and leading practitioners; and coaching, technical assistance, and implementation resources to advance strategy and overcome barriers.
Participation in the City Accelerator will be drawn from cities that participate in the Project on Municipal Innovation (PMI), a network of 35 of the nation’s largest and most innovative cities. The first cohort will launch in September, with the second and third cohorts launching at six-month intervals.
The first cohort will be on the subject of building and embedding a practice of innovation in city government. In recent years, a number of cities have begun to grow a culture and practice of innovation in local government. These efforts have generated steady pipelines of programs, products and services that are addressing the needs of city residents in more innovative ways. The first City Accelerator cohort will help three cities develop or deepen this kind of work, and capture learnings from that experience to help advance this kind of innovation in an even broader range of cities. The cohort will be led by Nigel Jacob, founding Co-Chair of Boston’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and Urban Technologist in Residence for Living Cities. Topics for the second and third cohorts will be selected by Living Cities and the Citi Foundation in consultation with cities in the PMI network.
For the first cohort, interested cities from the PMI network will be submitting applications in May, with a group of finalists selected in June. During the month of July, the applications from those finalists will be posted to this site, and Governing’s readers will provide input on the applications to help select the three participating cities. The ongoing work of the City Accelerator will be covered by Governing, with relevant materials and perspectives available at this site. Stay tuned for the latest developments.
About Living Cities Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at www.livingcities.org.
About the Citi Foundation The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, Citi's business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.