Weekly Briefing, April 25 – 29

blogimage_dailybriefingEvery week, there are new intersector collaborations surfacing across the United States and new, fascinating research and commentary that provides insight into the intersector — the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems. To keep our readers, practitioners and researchers alike, in the know, we compile a weekly briefing that captures these insights, and we publish it here, on our blog, every Friday. If you like this briefing, you should sign up for our newsletter for more in depth coverage of the intersector.

Pittsburgh will give civic startups a chance to pilot projects with City departments
This piece in Route Fifty highlights a new initiative in Pittsburgh that is similar to San Francisco’s Startup in Residence program, featured in last week’s briefing. “Known as PGH Lab, the pilot program will provide a select group of startup companies based in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County a chance to work with the City in areas such as citizen engagement, municipal operations, and improving the environment.”

Mayors: Flint could happen to us
“Nearly 1 in 3 American mayors think they may already have hurt their own citizens by making cost-saving decisions on critical infrastructure,” says new data from POLITICO Magazine‘s fifth national Mayors Survey. In the wake of the crisis in Flint, the survey reveals that although infrastructure issues often fall on cities to address, cities lack the resources to make much-needed fixes. Says Roy LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation, “Mayors are struggling to find the money from their governors and states — struggling to find the resources to keep their buses and transit systems running, to keep up the infrastructure at airports, to fix up bridges and interstates that are crumbling.” Public-private partnerships are mentioned as one way to address these problems: “Mayors … highlighted such creative financing techniques, especially public-private partnerships, describing a kind of third way financing when tax increases weren’t feasible and Congress or state legislators didn’t step forward.”

The key to making economic development more equitable is making it more democratic
This piece in The Nation examines how the participation of local residents can make economic development more equitable. It touches on cross-sector collaboration and how community engagement can help mitigate the potentially negative impact of private interests on economic development policy: “Today the concern is somewhat different—not that officials will ram through policies, but that they will skew too far towards privatization and overly friendly collaboration with developers, industry, and the economic elite. By providing representatives of often-overlooked constituencies with a real seat at the table to shape, implement, and monitor economic development policies, grassroots participation offers the hope of a more equitable approach to economic development.” For tips and tactics for successfully engaging the community in a cross-sector initiative, see Research to Practice: Engaging citizens to improve outcomes of public-private partnerships in transportation.

Governor Pence announces comprehensive cybersecurity public-private partnership
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has announced the creation of the Indiana Executive Council on Cybersecurity, which brings together public, private, and academic stakeholders to improve “Indiana’s ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from all types of cybersecurity issues, including attacks.”

Interventions that can close the college-attainment gap
There are many benefits to increasing college graduation rates, says Pete Wheelan, CEO of Inside Track, in this Governing piece, as college graduates are less likely to require government services and more likely to volunteer, participate in civic organizations, and vote. “To close gaps in college attainment and improve the lives of those who are often stuck in a cycle of inequality and poverty, educational institutions, non-profits, and businesses must collaborate with state and local governments to introduce scalable interventions to make higher education more accessible and increase graduation rates,” he explains.

Will Detroit keep riverfront a public space for everyone?
The redevelopment of the Detroit riverfront was the result of a massive cross-sector collaboration, which we detail in our case study Redeveloping the Riverfront in Detroit. Next City checks in on the riverfront as plans emerge to redevelop another 400 acres. “While the past decade has seen about $1 billion in investment there and the city anticipates doubling that in the next 10 years, officials are also mindful of maintaining that welcoming atmosphere.”