The how-to hub for urban innovators

We are the brainchild of Anthony Williams, former president of the National League of Cities. Our mission: to get city officials across America literally to pick up the phone and talk about best practices. So if you see an innovation that intrigues you (or even the music someone likes), look at the bottom of the story for contact info, and CONNECT!

How to Prepare Your City for Climate Change

Kate Johnson, Program Analyst, Department of Energy and Environment, Washington, DC

Andrew Bird

Categories: District of Columbia|Tags: , , |

An App to Communicate with Police

T.J. Smith, Chief, Media Relations, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore, Maryland

Michael Jackson

Categories: Baltimore, Maryland|Tags: , , |

An App for Safer Driving

Tim Cox, Deputy Director of Public Works, Marietta, Georgia

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Categories: Georgia, Marietta|Tags: , , |

How to Get Your Residents Eating Healthy Food

Breanna Hawkins, Policy Director, Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Los Angeles, California

Esperanza Spalding

Categories: California, Los Angeles|Tags: , |

How to Use Data Analytics to Fix Your Potholes

Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer, Kansas City, Missouri

Jimmy Buffett

Categories: Kansas City, Missouri|Tags: , , |

Finding Jobs for Panhandlers

Aaron Geyer, Program Coordinator, City of Portland, Maine

Brantley Gilbert

Categories: Maine, Portland|Tags: , |

Another Way to Fund Public Housing

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, President, The Fund for Public Housing, and, Director, Public-Private Partnerships, New York City Housing Authority

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Categories: New York, New York City|Tags: , |

How to Make Your City Compassionate

Greg Fischer, Mayor, Louisville City and Metro, Kentucky

Bob Marley

Categories: Kentucky, Louisville|Tags: , |

How to Create a Portal for Your G2G Tech Needs

Phil Bertolini, CIO, Oakland County, MI


Categories: Michigan, Oakland County|Tags: |

How to Use Electric Powered Bikes to Improve Your Transportation

Alfred Knotts, Transportation Planning Manager, Park City, Utah

Alkaline Trio

Categories: Park City, Utah|Tags: , , |

Moving Your Town to E-Permits

Chris Anaradian, Director, Development Services, Queen Creek, Arizona

Temple of the Dog

Categories: Arizona, Queen Creek|Tags: |

How to Apply Science to Policymaking

David Yokum, Director, Lab @ DC, Washington, D.C.


Categories: District of Columbia|Tags: , |

How to Step Up Your Jail Diversion Efforts

David Schwindt, Police Officer, Iowa City, Iowa

10,000 Maniacs

Categories: Iowa, Iowa City|Tags: , , |

How Sensors Can Improve Your Air Quality

Mike Lunn, Manager, Environmental Services Department, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Jethro Tull

Categories: Grand Rapids, Michigan|Tags: , |

How to Make Transport Easier for Seniors

Katie Knapp, Transportation & Mobility Coordinator, City of Evanston, Illinois

Michael Kiwanuka

Categories: Evanston, Illinois|Tags: , |

How to Make Your Capital Budget Understandable

Laura Larsen, Budget and Program Evaluation Manager, City of Madison, Wisconsin


Categories: Madison, Wisconsin|Tags: , |

How to Move Your Criminal Trials Faster

Mark Thompson, Assistant County Administrator, Department of Public Safety, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Deep Purple

Categories: Hennepin County, Minnesota|Tags: , |

How to Bring Your Tech Training In-House

Sherman Luk, Project Manager, Controller’s Office, City and County of San Francisco

Miles Davis

Categories: California, San Francisco|Tags: , |

How to Curb Your City’s Daily Commuting Mess

Caroline Chapman, GO Redmond Program Administrator, Redmond, WA

Sturgill Simpson

Categories: Washington|Tags: |

How to Find Other Cities Like Yours

Susan Longworth, Senior Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

The Martian Soundtrack

Categories: Chicago, Illinois|Tags: |

How to Become a “Second Generation” Smart City

Bill Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Grateful Dead

Categories: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh|Tags: , , |

How to Use Tech Firms to Improve Your City’s Life

Jeremy Goldberg, Deputy CTO, NYCx, Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, City of New York, NY

Kendrick Lamar

Categories: New York, New York City|Tags: , , |

How to Find Out Amazing Things by Putting Sensors on Your Street Lights

Danielle DuMerer, CIO and Commissioner, Department of Innovation and Technology, City of Chicago


Categories: Chicago, Illinois|Tags: , |

How to Go Paperless

Babila Lima, Operations Officer, Fiscal & Administrative Division, Department of General Services, Baltimore, Maryland

Thievery Corporation

Categories: Baltimore, Maryland|Tags: |

How to Engage Your Residents About the Future

Natalia Urtubey, Executive Director, Imagine Boston 2030, City of Boston, MA

John Legend

Categories: Boston, Massachusetts|Tags: , |

An App for Getting Your City to Access More Transportation Options

Cindy Patton, Acting Manager, Parking and Mobility Services, Denver Public Works - Transportation and Mobility, City and County of Denver, CO

The Lumineers

Categories: Colorado, Denver|Tags: , |

How to Measure Your City’s “Wellbeing”

Ted Winterer, Mayor, City of Santa Monica, CA

The Rolling Stones

Categories: California, Santa Monica|Tags: , |

How Smart Street Lights Can Help Your City

David Graham, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Neighborhood Services, City of San Diego, California

The Flaming Lips

Categories: California, San Diego|Tags: , , |

How to Detect E. Coli in Your Water

Nick Lucius, Data Scientist, Department of Innovation and Technology, City of Chicago, Illinois

Frank Ocean

Categories: Chicago, Illinois|Tags: , , , |

How You Can Collect Data to Reduce Asthma

Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology, Louisville Metro Government, Louisville, Kentucky

Edward Elgar

Categories: Kentucky, Louisville|Tags: , , |

How to Get People to Read Your Data

Tim Moreland, Director of Office of Performance Management and Open Data, City of Chattanooga, TN

Jonathan Coulton

Categories: Chattanooga, Tennessee|Tags: , |

How to Improve Foster Care by Linking Pay to Performance

Karen Anderson, Pay for Success Coordinator, Department of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County, Ohio


Categories: Cuyahoga County, Ohio|Tags: , |

How to Co-ordinate Your Smart City Projects

Kate Garman, Smart City Coordinator, IT Department, City of Seattle

Florence + The Machine

Categories: Seattle, Washington|Tags: |

How to Use a Chatbot as Your City’s Eyes and Ears

Ryan Johnson, Department of Economic Development, North Charleston, SC

Kishi Bashi

Categories: North Charleston, South Carolina|Tags: , , |

How to Improve Public Safety—and Get the Money to Do It

Mary Salas, Mayor, City of Chula Vista, CA

Bob Dylan

Categories: California, Chula Vista|Tags: , , |

How to Help Underserved Kids During the Summer

Nate Hinkel, Senior Communications Specialist, Department of Transit, City of Wichita, Kansas

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Categories: Kansas, Wichita|Tags: |

How to Build an Innovation District

Allen Joines, Mayor, City of Winston-Salem, NC

The Temptations

Categories: North Carolina, Winston-Salem|Tags: , |

How to Know When Your Bike Trails Need Repairs

Marcus Coenen, Senior Transportation Planner, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Des Moines, Iowa

The Killers

Categories: Des Moines, Iowa|Tags: , |

How to Shift Cannabis Use to Legal Dispensaries

Ron Galperin, City Controller, Los Angeles, CA

Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez

Categories: California, Los Angeles|Tags: , |

How to Modernize Your Water Meters—and Save Your Customers and City Lots of Money

Heather Pohl, Project Manager, Public Utilities Commission, City of San Francisco

The Black Crows

Categories: California, San Francisco|Tags: , , |

How to Know if Remotely-Located Officers Need Help

Hank Partin, Sheriff, Montgomery County, Virginia

Molly Hatchet

Categories: Montgomery County, Virginia|Tags: , |

How to Help Your Downtown with a Driverless Shuttle

Joanna Wadsworth, Program Manager, Department of Public Works, City of Las Vegas NV

Sarah Brightman

Categories: Las Vegas, Nevada|Tags: , |

How to Get New Energy Systems Without Spending a Dime

Neal Pugliese, Director of Public Projects & Facilities, City of Beaufort, SC

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Categories: Beaufort, South Carolina|Tags: , |

How to Decide What Smart Tech You Should Have

Terry Yates, Infrastructure and Network Manager, Town of Cary, North Carolina

Iron Maiden

Categories: Cary, North Carolina|Tags: , |

How to Revitalize Older Neighborhoods Inexpensively

Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor, Plano, TX

Biggie Smalls

Categories: Plano, Texas|Tags: , , |

How to Modernize Your City’s Water Meters

Jakeh Roberts, Operations & Maintenance Division Manager, Department of Public Works, Monroe, WA

Pearl Jam

Categories: Monroe, Washington|Tags: , , |

How to Engage Your Millennials

Kirby Clark, Communications Specialist, Police Department, Arlington County, VA

Florida Georgia Line

Categories: Arlington County, Virginia|Tags: , |

How to Curb Opioid Overdoses

Eric Guenther, Chief of Police, City of Mundelein, IL


Categories: Illinois, Mundelein|Tags: , , |

How You and Your Tech Startups Can Help Each Other

Annia Aleman, Civic Innovation Specialist, City of Pittsburgh, PA

Willie Colon

Categories: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh|Tags: , , |

How to Help Your Residents Keep Up Their Homes

Jim Lane, Mayor, Scottsdale, AZ

Zac Brown Band

Categories: Arizona, Scottsdale|Tags: , , |

How to Predict Flooding

Dr. Samantha Danchuk, Assistant Director, Environmental Planning & Community Resilience Division, Broward County, FL

Mötley Cruë

Categories: Broward County, Florida|Tags: |

How to Show Your City’s Culture, in a Cool Way

Claudia Castro Luna, Civic Poet, City of Seattle, WA

Calle 13

Categories: Seattle, Washington|Tags: |

A Better Way to Keep Your Roads Repaired

Andrea Klopfenstein, Project Engineer, Peoria, IL

Comedy Stations

Categories: Illinois, Peoria|Tags: , , |

How to Use Data To Stop Overdoses

Brandon Crowley, Chief Data Officer, City of Cincinnati, Ohio


Categories: Cincinnati, Ohio|Tags: |

How to Give Businesses a Better Experience Dealing with the City

Hillary Schieve, Mayor, Reno, Nevada


Categories: Nevada, Reno|Tags: |

How to Use Smart Bike Racks to Stop Thieves

Steve Beroldo, Bike Program Manager, Bay Area Rapid Transit ("BART"), Oakland, CA

Portugal the Man

Categories: California, Oakland|Tags: , |

How to Make Diverse Schools More Successful

Shannon McParland, Principal, Sioux Trail Elementary School, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, Burnsville, MN

Alesia Cara

Categories: Burnsville, Minnesota|Tags: , |

An App for Affordable Housing

Erica Leak, Manager of Housing Policy and Planning, City of Austin, Texas

Audio Books

Categories: Austin, Texas|Tags: , |

How to Save Fire Trucks for When You Really Need Them

Andres Mercado, Firefighter/Paramedic (overseeing the Mobile Integrated Health Office), City of Santa Fe, NM

Bob Marley

Categories: New Mexico, Santa Fe|Tags: , |

How to Improve the Safety of Your City’s Night Life

Buddy Dyer, Mayor, Orlando, FL

Willie Nelson

Categories: Florida, Orlando|Tags: |

How to Offer Your Citizens Job Training That Also Fills City Jobs

Hollie Lee, Chief, Workforce Development Strategies, City of Charlottesville, Virginia

Keith Urban

Categories: Charlottesville, Virginia|Tags: |

How to Tackle Homelessness Better

Shelley McKittrick, Homelessness Director, City of Aurora, CO

John Prine

Categories: Aurora, Colorado|Tags: |

How to Dispose of Restaurant Grease

David McNeil, Environmental Services Manager, City of Tempe, Arizona

Miles Davis

Categories: Arizona, Tempe|Tags: |

How to Digitize Your Libraries

Laura Cole, BiblioTech Administrator, Bexar County, TX

Elvis Costello

Categories: Bexar County, Texas|Tags: |

How to Improve Your Efforts to Curb Overdose Deaths

Lt. Detective Commander Patrick Glynn, Special Investigations and Narcotics Units, Quincy, Massachusetts

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Categories: Massachusetts, Quincy|Tags: |

How to Upgrade Your Broadband—and Comply with State Laws

David P. Young, Manager, Fiber Infrastructure and Right of Way Construction Management, Department of Public Works and Utilities, Lincoln, Nebraska

Guns N’ Roses

Categories: Lincoln, Nebraska|Tags: |

How to Get “Reefer Revenue”

Don Stevens, Mayor, North Bonneville, WA

Tears for Fears

Categories: North Bonneville, Washington|Tags: , |

How to Share Data to Improve Policing

Brandy Carney, Director, Public Safety & Justice Services, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Modest Mouse

Categories: Cuyahoga County, Ohio|Tags: , |

How to Use Tesla SUVs to Ease Traffic and Parking

Cesar Hernandez, Government Relations Specialist, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (“HART”), Tampa, Florida

Biggie Smalls

Categories: Florida, Orlando|Tags: |

How to Finance New Streetlights

Deanna Venker, Commissioner of Traffic, City of St. Louis

Earth, Wind & Fire

Categories: Missouri, St. Louis|Tags: , |

How to Save Lots of Money, Without Firing Anyone

Brian Elms, Director of Peak Academy and Analytics, City and County of Denver

Rise Against

Categories: Colorado, Denver|Tags: |

How to Get More Citizen Feedback

Carrie Peterson, Resource Development Manager, Department of Parks and Open Space, Eugene, Oregon


Categories: Eugene, Oregon|Tags: |

How to Retain City Employees

Nick Kittle, Former Chief Innovation Officer, Adams County, Colorado

Bare Naked Ladies

Categories: Adams County, Colorado|Tags: |

How to Improve Your City’s Energy-Efficiency with One Simple Trick

Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability, City of Orlando, FL

Hiatus Kaiyote

Categories: Florida, Orlando|Tags: |

How to Expand Your Community Outreach

Christopher Koontz, Advance Planning Officer, City of Long Beach, Long Beach, California

Britney Spears

Categories: California, Long Beach|Tags: |

How to Open a Public Drug Injection Facility

Jeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer and Chief, Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section, Public Health Seattle and King County, Washington

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Categories: Seattle, Washington|Tags: |

How to Make Business Tax Filings Easier

Jamie Carnell, Assistant Finance Director, Business Systems, Project Director for the Summit Re-Implementation Project, Seattle, Washington

Guns ‘N Roses

Categories: Seattle, Washington|Tags: |

How to Get Your Agencies to Love 311

Jean Ann Lawson, Chief Performance Officer, Office of the City Manager, Kansas City, Missouri

Broadway musicals

Categories: Kansas City, Missouri|Tags: |

How to Make Your Seniors Safer with Smoke Detectors

Dan Hoffman, Former Chief Innovation Officer, Montgomery County, Maryland

Smashing Pumpkins

Categories: Maryland, Montgomery County|Tags: |

How to Handle the Last-Minute Rush for School Immunizations

Tiffany Wilkinson, MPH, Division Manager, Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness, Kansas City, Missouri


Categories: Kansas City, Missouri|Tags: |

How Your Schools Can Teach Kids Better

Pete Piccolo, Executive Director of Innovation, Denver Public Schools, Denver, Colorado

The Revivalists

Categories: Colorado, Denver|Tags: |

How to Deal with an Angry Public

Lori Lightfoot, Chairman, Mayor’s Task Force on Police Accountability, City of Chicago

Todd Rundgren

Categories: Chicago, Illinois|Tags: |

How to Right-Size Fines for Your Low-Income Residents

Anne Stuhldreher, Director of Financial Justice Project, City of San Francisco


Categories: California, San Francisco|Tags: |

How to Find Loans for Your Neighborhood Shops

Jon Snyder, Director, Business Financial Resources, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia, PA

Steely Dan

Categories: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia|Tags: |

How to Map Your City’s Trees

Jacqueline Lu, Director of Data Analytics, City of New York Parks & Recreation

The National

Categories: New York, New York City|Tags: |

How to Maximize Green Lights at Your Intersections

Alex Pazuchanics, Policy Coordinator, Office of the Mayor, Pittsburgh, PA


Categories: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh|Tags: |

How to Get Ideas to Improve Your City

Eric Espinosa, Co-leader, Mayor’s Cup, Los Angeles, CA


Categories: California, Los Angeles|Tags: |

How to Budget Better

Andrew Kleine, Budget Director, City of Baltimore, MD

John Mellencamp

Categories: Baltimore, Maryland|Tags: |

How to Use Alexa for City Services

Rick Virmani, Development Services Systems Manager, City of Las Vegas

Dire Straits

Categories: Las Vegas, Nevada|Tags: |

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