The major policy issues that affect communities today are far too complex to be tackled by any one sector or level of government. In order to foster multi-faceted and collaborative approaches to addressing these issues, Living Cities has developed the boot camp model to drive progress and foster new relationships among people who may not currently work together but should.
Living Cities boot camps are intensive, two-day gatherings that bring all the major stakeholders from a given area together to address a critical issue or opportunity facing their community. Each boot camp brings 10 to 15 teams of these leaders together at the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our goal is to disrupt the status quo, bring unusual bedfellows together as needed to create solutions to today’s problems and offer ways for teams to work together differently going forward.
To date, Living Cities, has hosted three boot camps. For each, we have had the cooperation of the Obama administration, which has ensured that teams have the opportunity to communicate directly with the federal agencies that have influence over their work. The most recent boot camp, which was held in January 2011, focused on issues surrounding the creation of sustainable communities and the federal Sustainable Communities Planning Grants program. Previous camps addressed efforts to stabilize neighborhoods affected by the foreclosure crisis, and to “green” cities with energy efficient building retrofits.