By Stephanie Sung
The Obama Administration and the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative (SC2) have recently announced its expansion to include seven new cities:
Brownsville, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; Macon, Georgia; Rockford, Illinois; Rocky Mountain, North Carolina; and St. Louis, Missouri.
SC2 is a program that helps link urban leadership with federal resources and expertise with the hopes that it will help reduce red tape and improve local capacity. What this means is that the federal government has placed capable officials in cities that could use them. People like Kathleen Fox, SC2 Fellow and recent Legacy Cities Design Initiative participant, have been on the ground for nearly two years in several legacy cities, including Cleveland, Youngstown, Detroit and New Orleans.
SC2 reports positive results from the pilot cities:
In the two years since SC2 was announced, it has enabled its partners to more effectively utilize roughly $368 million in existing federal funds and investments. This ultimately translates into more economic revitalization investments, workforce training and job creation, improved services for the community and increased public safety.
It is with this success that SC2 announced its expansion. While we are excited to see the success of the program in the newly announced cities, we are also patiently awaiting the arrival of SC2’s National Resource Network, which would essentially filter back the lessons learned in each city through an online portal. Closing this feedback loop will help extend the program’s reach to other cities in need, and more importantly, the resulting knowledge network will not be limited to government officials, but will be accessible all civic leaders, which in some cases (especially in legacy cities) might be community organizers, entrepreneurs, educators, etc.