NLC Now Accepting Speaker Submissions for “Big Ideas for Small Cities” Event

The TEDx-style talks will take place during the City Summit this November in Pittsburgh. If you think your city has a creative, unique initiative worth sharing with other small cities, please submit your proposal.

(Jason Dixson Photography)

Mayor Garrett Nancolas of Caldwell, Idaho, speaks at the 2015 Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. about how his city is cooperating with local institutions to better serve its youth population through the Caldwell Youth Master Plan. (Jason Dixson Photography)

This is a guest post by Angelica Mercado.

In March 2015, the National League of Cities hosted its first Big Ideas for Small Cities, an event comprised of a series of TEDx-style talks showcasing local leaders’ innovative ideas for their small cities. With national and state attention focused on larger cities, small cities often have to develop unique and creative solutions to the challenges facing their communities. These cities also often have to balance having smaller budgets, part-time staff, and more limited resources, highlighting an emphasis on the need for innovation and creativity in the development of strategies to address challenges and issues in their communities.

The Big Ideas for Small Cities series serves as a platform for small city officials to share their ideas for driving change and progress. The two pioneering events took place in March and November of 2015, in Washington, D.C. and Nashville, Tennessee, respectively. These two events showcased a diverse series of case studies highlighting the creativity and innovation of small cities that have driven change and progress in their communities.

Delegates at the 2015 Congressional City Conference learned from Mayor Jud Ashman how city leaders from Gaithersburg, Maryland, sought to raise the prominence and economic prowess of Gaithersburg through creation of a world class book festival. (Jason Dixson Photography)

Delegates at the 2015 Congressional City Conference learned from Mayor Jud Ashman how city leaders from Gaithersburg, Maryland, sought to raise the prominence and economic prowess of Gaithersburg through creation of a world class book festival. (Jason Dixson Photography)

In March, we heard from six mayors, including Mayor Nancy Backus of Auburn, Washington, who explained how Auburn sought to stimulate development in its city center using infrastructure projects financed through alternative means, and Mayor Jud Ashman of Gaithersburg, Maryland, who facilitated the creation of the Gaithersburg Book Festival to raise prominence and economic activity in his town.

In November, seven small city mayors shared their insights. Mayor David Black of Papillion, Nebraska, and Mayor Douglas Kindig of La Vista, Nebraska, shared how their cities collaborated to merge both fire departments in order to address both of their communities’ needs. Councilmember Scott Meyer of Brookings, South Dakota, also discussed how the city’s Creative Fest serves to ensure that Brookings remains the “Creative Capital of the North.”

Interested in learning more about the initiatives and case studies shared during past Big Ideas for Small Cities events? The full presentations are available through the National League of Cities: Big Ideas for Small Cities – March 2015, and Big Ideas for Small Cities – November 2015.

This year’s Big Ideas for Small Cities will be held in November at NLC’s City Summit conference in Pittsburgh. If you think your city has a creative, unique initiative worth sharing with other small cities, please submit your proposal here. We will be accepting submissions through July 14, and we’re interested in learning about how your community is driving innovative and impactful change.

About the Author: Angelica Mercado is an intern with the National League of Cities University.