In addition to our core portfolio of work, we work to be a platform for our member institutions to come together to be responsive to a rapidly changing environment–From Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, to finding promising approaches to address the realities of the foreclosure crisis in 2007. And, an ambitious research and development agenda has created space for Living Cities staff and staff of our twenty two member institutions to collaboratively explore issues such as the green economy and celebrity engagement in social change efforts.
Recognizing the incredible challenges cities face to stabilize neighborhoods struggling with foreclosures and abandonment, in 2010 we convened a Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance at Harvard University.Teams representing 12 cities and regions were joined by an array of experts and representatives of financial institutions, government agencies, philanthropy, consultants and experts. They gathered in order to develop new strategies to increase the scale and impact of their neighborhood stabilization efforts. These multidisciplinary city teams were challenged throughout the camp to articulate clear “end-game” neighborhood outcomes and broaden their strategies and tactics to influence real estate markets rather than just “aiming low” for limited site control by rehabbing a modest number of homes. They were encouraged to engage players they have traditionally ignored, avoided or even viewed as adversaries–all in support of a disciplined “road map” to ambitious results.