Our weekly round-up of articles and information focuses on the different ways cities and leaders from across sectors can work together differently to achieve dramatically better results for low-income people, faster.

In order to achieve dramatically better results for low-income people, leaders from across sectors need to work together in new and different ways. This includes everything from breaking down internal silos, to involving community members in major decisions that affect their lives. In this weekly round-up of #GoodReads, we’re highlighting articles that explore a few of the more promising approaches to “working together differently.”

CEO Suggestion

Cities as Platforms – Tech Crunch Recommended by Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities

Many of the decade’s fastest growing companies have one thing in common: They’re all platforms. Look at YouTube (for video sharing) and AirBNB (for travel stays).

Author Gerard Gretch notes in this Tech Crunch article, “It’s not uncommon for the public sector to look to private companies for inspiration.” At Living Cities, we’re asking many of the same questions that Gretch poses. What can this “platform” trend teach government? Can cities be platforms? Can cities too, be “digitally disrupted?” We believe there is a great deal to learn and an opportunity to build those findings into a new urban practice that gets dramatically better results for low-income people, faster.


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Infrastructure – John Oliver

Recommended by Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director, Public Sector Innovation

Thanks to John Oliver, many Americans probably got their best understanding of why the highway transportation fund always seems to be on the verge of running out of money. In addition to being humorous and accessible, John Oliver makes a good point about storytelling as a tool for change. It spurs those of us in the social sector to ask, how can we make issues like infrastructure sexy (even more than it is) through our storytelling to provide a new lens and on-the-ground models that spur political will and drive financial resources towards supporting cities and their residents?

Municipal Innovation

Better City-Making Means Breaking Down Silos—Here’s How – Planetizen

Recommended by Tiffany Ferguson, Program Associate, Public Sector Innovation

This article provides a great summary of why silos exist, particularly in the public sector, highlighting “two levels” of silo-breaking needed to work more effectively across local government. The conclusions also resonated with some themes we’ve seen in the collective impact space and reaffirms that getting people accustomed to the language of systems-level change is a huge part of the work.

Community Engagement

Equitable Placemaking: Not the End, but the Means - Project for Public Places

Recommended by Alyssa Campbell, Intern, Knowledge and Impact

One of the fears at the back of my mind anytime I hear a proposal to build a new park in a neighborhood, install bike lanes, park-lets, or any other urban design strategy to spruce up a neighborhood, is the ability of those who have long-lived in that community to enjoy the benefits of such improvements in the long-term without being displaced.

It is refreshing to read a positive spin on the often negatively reported connection between placemaking and gentrification. This article argues for the need to actively involve local residents, writing: “The Right to the City is a right to create, to participate, to be represented - it is the right to see oneself reflected in the place they live … Acts of civil disobedience are demands for the right to the city … Placemaking, by solidifying the links between people and their shared places, can enable us to stitch our cities back together.”

What other approaches are you seeing? Share them with us in the comment section or on social media, using #NewUrbanPractice.