Cities across the country and around the world face a multitude of serious challenges. Many communities have low-performing schools, major public health and environmental concerns, and neighborhoods in need of revitalization. They are ill-equipped to handle unforeseen emergencies and struggle to reintegrate veterans into their communities.
Although service has long been a hallmark of the American civic tradition, municipal governments have not always used citizens as part of a serious strategy to solve important problems and drive local innovation.
With increasing needs and diminishing resources, mayors and other city leaders are finding new ways, including citizen volunteers, to expand their ability to generate and provide solutions. The Cities of Service model equips mayors with tools to engage citizens in community problem solving, rather than viewing them solely as service users. This generates new approaches — and creates new resources — that have historically been beyond the reach of local governments.