Living Cities, a consortium of twenty-two large foundations and financial institutions, has announced that it will host a three-day boot camp in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Harvard Kennedy School for metropolitan regions that have received millions in federal planning dollars to transform their regional economies.
Sponsored by the Ford, Surdna, and Annie E. Casey foundations, the boot camp, January 10-12, is designed to build participants' capacity to use strategy to drive economic sustainability and equity; harness capital to realize a regional vision; ground efforts in real-time data to advance desired outcomes; and ensure meaningful and inclusive long-term participation. Each participating region — Boston; Fresno, California; Apache County, Arizona; Gulfport, Mississippi; Asheville, North Carolina; Houston-Galveston, Texas; the New York-Connecticut region; Cleveland; Detroit; Puget Sound, Washington; Southeast Florida; the Twin Cities area; and Madison, Wisconsin — has received up to $5 million from HUD's Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, which supports efforts to integrate planning across local boundaries and categories such as housing and transportation.
The boot camp, the third such event hosted by Living Cities, is designed to stimulate local partnerships by convening people who don't often work together. After the Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp held last March, for example, HUD made important improvements to its multibillion-dollar neighborhood stabilization program.
"Like any boot camp, it's critical we get in shape if we're to tackle the challenges facing our communities," said Shelley Poticha, director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. "We're all called to think in new, more sustainable ways about the places where we live and work, and I can't think of a better way than to gather in this setting, roll up our sleeves, and get down to the real work of transforming our communities to meet tomorrow's demands."