U.S. Work

Spotlight: Leominster, MA

The looming fiscal crisis confronting municipal government in the US, combined with drastic anticipated cuts in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other programs, will severely strain the capacity of distressed cities to address the problems of urban poverty, joblessness, economic revitalization and delivery of essential services. In addition, the difficulties in meeting critical short-term needs with less staff and constrained budgets leaves municipalities with an acutely limited capacity to plan strategically for mid- and long-term economic development.

The Institute for International Urban Development (I2UD) is assessing whether it could apply its international urban planning experience to U.S. cities and help build the capacity of local governments in New England cities to function in an uncertain future. Our goal is to empower local governments and other organizations to provide the essential services to their communities—particularly in those cities that suffer from poverty, economic decline and disinvestment. New England cities reflect the broader national crisis and serve as relevant case studies for other American cities.

In the first phase of the project, we are:

  • Researching the US market for the type of consulting services that the cities and towns require and test our potential competitiveness in this market. We are identifying opportunities where our expertise in strategic planning for international urban development has applicability and responds to the needs of US cities

  • We have done a basic assessment of the issues that cities and towns in New England face including changes in demographics, revenues versus expenditures and changes in the economic base, among others.

  • We have also interviewed several cities and towns about whether the services we can offer would be relevant and useful. So far, the response has been very positive. By the end of the summer, we will complete approximately 20 interviews with local leaders in cities/towns and agencies across Massachusetts and New England.