The Network's Research

Since its launch, the National Resource Network has produced a number of reports and guides to shed light on the challenges cities around the country are facing and highlight strategies to address them successfully. Ranging from the creation of a city-level health data platform to an in-depth look at the state of California’s distressed communities, these reports have provided critical research and insight for local leaders and stakeholders around the country.


Growing Wages & Jobs: How City Government Can Help Lead in Workforce Development and Public Education

In July 2018, the Network released a report entitled, "Growing Wages & Jobs: How City Government Can Help Lead in Workforce Development and Public Education." This report grew out of a convening with representatives from five cities (Baltimore, MD; Passaic, NJ; Salinas, CA; Waco, TX; and Winston-Salem, NC), during which city and community leaders discussed their experiences leading efforts to link economic development to workforce development and education. Based on their insights and our work with these cities and others, the Network identified common challenges, strategies, and “promising practices” that city governments can implement to support a well-educated and skilled workforce necessary for business attraction, retention, and expansion.


Accelerating Cities: Why States are the Most Important Partners for Economically Challenged Cities

In Accelerating Cities: Why States Are the Most Important Partners for Economically Challenged Cities, the National Resource Network provides recommendations for states to effectively work with cities and includes case studies and data from Virginia and New Jersey – two states with incoming governors and cities that have economic challenges.

The report finds that economically challenged cities generate significant economic output and are home to hundreds of thousands of job, but notes that the per capita income from those jobs differs greatly between challenged and nonchallenged cities. The report also provides recommendations for states beyond Virginia and New Jersey, including establishing a State Resource Network to bring together states and cities to partner on issues that are most important to them.


City- State Partnerships That Promote Economic Recovery

Results of a 2014 Gallup survey indicate that while many Americans report skepticism of federal and state government, most trust their local government – the government closest to them and the one that they know best. However, policies and programs at the state level heavily influence many local government functions, and a city’s success or failure is often heavily dependent on its ability to establish a strong intergovernmental partnership.  

The Network’s review of city-state partnerships has identified five strategies through which states can support the economic progress of cities: build local capacity; prevent fiscal distress; target funding to need; invest in revitalization; and promote regional cooperation.  Learn more about this important research here.


Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age: A Resource Guide for Local Governments

Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age is a resource guide designed to support U.S. communities of all sizes and geographies in advancing their goals for high-speed Internet access and digital inclusion. The guide was developed through the collaborative efforts of six cities that have all been active in enhancing broadband Internet access and addressing the digital divide in their own communities: Chattanooga, TN; Gonzales, CA; Greensboro, NC; New Orleans, LA; Springfield, MO; and Youngstown, OH.

With support from the National Resource Network and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, representatives of the six cities shared information on programs, practices, challenges, and opportunities from their own communities with each other and produced a resource guide that compiles their insight for the benefit of  communities around the country. Additional insight can be found in an October 2016 PM Magazine article here


Expansion of Successful Online Population Health Resource Gives U.S. Cities Access to Key Health Data

Hundreds of United States cities will be able to identify their most pressing healthcare needs more accurately—thanks to a nationwide expansion of the City Health Dashboard, an innovative, pilot-studied health data visualization tool. The Dashboard places in the hands of city leaders and community organizations a responsive and highly reliable web interface with regularly refreshed health-related data overseen by a team of epidemiologists, population health and urban policy experts, and geographic information system specialists.

Created by the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU, in partnership with the National Resource Network, the Dashboard launched in 2016 in four cities; it will expand to 500 additional cities over the next 2 years through a $3.4 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with the ultimate goal of becoming a central resource for urban health planning for U.S. cities with populations of 70,000 or more.

The Dashboard - and its recent expansion - are well summarized in this August 2018 PM Magazine article. 


Hidden in Plain Sight: Why California's Economically Challenged Cities Matter

Nearly 12 million Californians live in an economically challenged city and one in four of all challenged cities in the country are in California. In 2015, the National Resource Network researched the impact and potential of these economically challenged communities on the state of California. Our findings highlight the critical role these cities play in the state’s economy and describe their potential to become significant catalysts for further economic growth if challenges are overcome.

The Network's report illustrates why it is important for elected officials and policymakers to work with the leadership in these cities to make the most of resources that can improve their economies and their residents’ quality of life.  Understanding, identifying, and then overcoming the economic barriers in California’s cities is vital to our nation and most of all, to the 12 million people who live in them.


Anchors Up: How Cities and Anchor Institutions Can Work Together For a Brighter Future

In its 2015 report, Striking a (Local) Grand Bargainthe National Resource Network, NYU Wagner, and the Urban Institute illustrate that while cities can benefit from relationships with local anchors – colleges, universities, and hospitals – the full potential of these partnerships has not been realized because of mistrust, half-starts and half-realized results.

But cities and anchor institutions need each other in order to thrive. The study found that:

  • Increasingly, anchor institutions are driving economic progress;

  • Partnership efforts are growing in number;

  • Small and struggling cities often have the most to gain; and

  • Leaders must speak the same language.

From the days when being located near a navigable body of water was key to a city’s success, to the era of strong corporate ties to urban centers, to cities today that now look to strong anchor institutions with an eye toward the future, what it takes to be a successful city has shifted as the world around us has changed. A new approach, a new grand bargain with anchor institutions based on shared interests is the path forward for American cities in the 21st century.  Learn more about the Network’s research here