Op-Eds

Many Republican mayors are advancing climate-friendly policies without saying so

The Conversation, May 30, 2018 – Nicolas Gunkel

Leadership in addressing climate change in the United States has shifted away from Washington, D.C. Cities across the country are organizing, networking and sharing resources to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and tackle related challenges ranging from air pollution to heat island effects…

Here’s how city networks can help American cities reduce their carbon footprint

CityMetric, May 9, 2018 – Nicolas Gunkel

Over the last three years, US mayors have become increasingly convinced that cities should play a strong role in reducing the effects of climate change. Today, two thirds of mayors are willing to expend resources to take action on climate. If the political will exists, the question then becomes: who is offering a roadmap to get there – and what are the next steps?

The ground game: cities & racial equity

Medium, March 27, 2018 – Katharine Lusk

On Sunday March 11th, Initiative on Cities Executive Director Katharine Lusk took the stage at SXSW to lead a discussion on how mayors are advancing racial equity in America. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Leon Andrews from the National League of Cities, and Dr. Atyia Martin, former Chief of Boston’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity, joined to discuss local powers, progress and stumbling blocks...

As the Trump administration retreats on climate change, US cities are moving forward

The Conversation, February 20, 2018 – Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick, and Maxwell Palmer

Despite almost universal scientific consensus that climate change poses a growing threat, President Donald Trump’s recent infrastructure plan makes no mention of the need to build resilience to rising global temperatures. Instead, it actually seeks to weaken environmental reviews as a way of speeding up the infrastructure permitting process. Mayors overwhelmingly believe that climate change is a result of human activities….

Why I’m an unabashed fan of America’s mayors

Next City, March 3, 2017 – Katharine Lusk

Lobbyists aside, spending quality time with elected officials is not high on anyone’s priority list these days. But I often tell people how much I love walking into a room of mayors.As American politicians go, mayors are cut from a different cloth: They often have the heart of a humanitarian, but they combine it with the management ethos of the accountable executive….

Urban nation: What’s at stake for cities in the 2016 elections

The Conversation, November 1, 2016 – Graham Wilson, Katharine Lusk, and Conor LeBlanc

Cities are America’s economic engines. America is becoming more urban, reflecting a global migration to cities that is changing the political power structure. Many mayors, unencumbered by the partisan gridlock that characterizes Washington, D.C., are leading novel policy initiatives and setting national agendas. But they don’t operate in a vacuum. They need the federal government to shape the future….

N.H. braces for economic fallout from Brexit

The Exchange, June 28, 2016 – Graham Wilson

As Europe struggles to sort out what Britain’s decision to leave the EU means for the Continent, here in the United States there are impacts as well.  In this segment, New Hampshire Public Radio explores how this European shake-out might affect the economy in New Hampshire and New England. Guests on the show include Graham Wilson, political science professor at Boston University and UK native, and Dawn Wivell, CEO at Firebrand International….

3 Ways cities can improve curfews for minors

Cities Speak, May 2, 2016 – Sana Johnson

Curfew laws have serious unintended consequences, including disproportionate minority contact, the criminalization of homeless and runaway youth, worsening outcomes for kids and the exposure of cities to lawsuits for unconstitutionality. Local decision-makers should consider taking the following actions in order to ensure that their curfews protect rather than harm young people in their cities:.

What city leaders should know about curfews for minors

Cities Speak, April 28, 2016 – Sana Johnson

Do curfew laws actually protect city youth and increase public safety? Not only do curfew laws yield a number of serious unintended consequences, but their effectiveness as a tool for protecting general public safety – especially the safety of young people – remains unconfirmed by research….

Policies written by youth delegates at NLC’s National Youth Convention

Cities Speak, March 9, 2016 – Sana Johnson

Young people from more than 35 diverse cities across the country convened on Monday, March 7th to participate in the National Youth Convention at NLC’s 2016 Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. Modeled after the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, youth delegates took on the challenges of developing a National Youth Platform and choosing their candidates for the presidential bid….

U.S. mayors desperate to fix crumbling infrastructure but states, feds hold them back 

The Conversation, February 22, 2016 – Katherine Levine Einstein and David Glick

The drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan illustrates two urgent and related challenges that are stressing many American cities. First, critical infrastructure systems such as roads, bridges and water networks are aging and underfunded. Second, cities are not getting the support they need from higher levels of government to fix these problems….

Why mayors are looking for ideas outside the city limits

The Conversation, October 30, 2015 – Katharine Lusk

When our dear colleague and cofounder of the Initiative on Cities program at Boston University, former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, passed away one year ago, letters poured in to our offices at Boston University. The intimate condolences from Boston’s many neighborhoods – Hyde Park, Roslindale, Dorchester – were to be expected. But the letters and fond remembrances from heads of state, governors, ambassadors, and countless domestic and foreign mayors took us by surprise…

The C-title that cities need: chief research officer

Governing, September 24, 2015 – Katharine Lusk

You can almost hear it: In mayoral cabinets nationwide, new chairs are being pulled up to the table. Chief resiliency officers are joining their ranks, along with data and innovation chiefs. And yet room hasn’t been made for a critical seat: chief research officer. In cash-strapped cities drowning in data and searching for evidence-based interventions that have real impact, a chief research officer would be a master stroke…

America’s mayors are taking on the big problems, but they can’t escape partisan divide

The Conversation, May 21, 2015 – Katherine Levine Einstein and David Glick

Paralysis, gridlock, dysfunction: these are just three of the words commonly used to describe federal politics. Making things happen is no easy task in a polarized Washington, DC. But move a couple of levels down – to our cities – and a different picture emerges…