15 Innovations for Municipal Leaders

Last month, NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service released Innovation and the City, an in-depth exploration of 15 municipal-level innovations to help city residents live better. From London to San Francisco and places in between, cities everywhere are doing great work to improve the lives of their citizens. The innovations documented by NYUWagner include:

  1. Boston & Chicago's Updating 311
  2. San Francisco's Kindergarten to College (K2C)
  3. Chicago's Innovation Loan Fund
  4. Denver's Peak Academy
  5. London's Project Oracle
  6. London's Spacehive
  7. San Francisco's Zero Waste
  8. Philadelphia, Providence & Chicago's Digital Badging
  9. Chicago's Budget Savings Commission
  10. Seattle & San Francisco's Open Data
  11. Oakland's City ID Prepaid Mastercard
  12. Seattle & Santa Cruz's Accessory Dwelling Units and Basement Conversions
  13. Michigan's Prize-Linked Savings (PLS)*
  14. Los Angeles & Chicago's Immigrant Export Initiative
  15. San Francisco's Commuter Tax Benefit

Two of these innovations—numbers 2 and 13 above—identify asset-building innovations that have the potential to serve millions of low- and moderate-income families. San Francisco's K2C program, for example, is a pioneer of the Children's Savings Account movement and is working to create a college-going culture among families with children who face rising tuition costs against already-tight family budgets. Further, K2C's visibility has helped pique interest around other initiatives, such as Prosperity Now's very own 1:1 Fund.

Likewise, Michigan's PLS initiative is a scalable means of giving families a hand up. Piloted in a number of cities across the country based on the exciting work of the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund, PLS is the next generation of savings strategies. In essence, PLS offers incentives—like raffles and cash—for individuals who open savings accounts and make regular deposits into them. Not only does this increase the amount an individual or family saves, but it also brings un- and underbanked residents into the financial mainstream by connecting them with safe financial products.

These innovations and the other 13 listed above are chronicled in detail in NYUWagner's report, which you should download here.

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