Coordinated action among different government agencies is needed in order to effectively tackle the multifaceted challenges that America’s cities face. Too often, though, this kind of coordination is impeded by internal bureaucratic silos at both the federal and local levels. For the public sector’s efforts and activities to produce better results for low-income people, this challenge will need to be addressed.

The Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities – a partnership between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency – is one prominent example of the public sector working to break down silos and other barriers to collaboration. A recently released report by the Urban Institute describes how the Partnership has broken down structural barriers to collaboration at the federal and local levels, helping to align significant federal dollars towards sustainable development approaches and to bring community groups, advocates and other key players to metropolitan decision-making tables, in many places for the first time.

During this webinar, participants explored the following questions:

  • How has the Partnership addressed structural barriers to collaboration at the federal and local levels?
  • What at this point can we say about the impact of this work?
  • How can the Partnership’s efforts inform future efforts to break through silos and produce better outcomes for low-income people?


  • Rolf Pendall, Director, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Catherine Cox-Blair, Program Director, Reconnecting America