Top 5 NLC Reports from 2018

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What did city leaders want to learn about most this year? The numbers don’t lie: autonomous vehicles, recycling, small cell deployment, the census and local trends.

At the National League of Cities, we are dedicated to ensuring that cities are able to thrive and stay abreast of emerging issues in an ever-changing national landscape. And as we approach the holidays, we are grateful for your support and the ability to serve thousands of cities every year.

We have an exciting 2019 to look forward to, but we wanted to take the time to share our top five most popular guides and reports from 2018. You can read the descriptions below, and be sure to check out any reports you missed earlier this year. Links are in the titles.

Autonomous Vehicles: Future Scenarios

It’s no wonder thousands of people visited this microsite in its first month — it’s all about robots.

Today in America, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are already on our streets, with pilots taking place in cities nationwide. Technology like this can be utilized to make all of our lives better — but even if our hands are off the wheel, we must drive this future together.

That’s why NLC and the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles collaborated on this resource, which includes a primer, atlas, a series of reports and four stores of how this technology could shape cities’ futures.

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Recycling Reimagined

A linear economy’s model is “take, make, waste.” A circular economy connects the two ends of the cycle, using waste as a feedstock for production. Zero waste, or using waste from one process as a resource for others, and separating material consumption from economic growth will preserve resources, create jobs, add economic value, minimize waste and curb greenhouse emissions.

That’s why, in collaboration with Starbucks, we released a guide to help cities transition to a zero waste model. A 75 percent diversion rate by 2030 could create 1.1 million jobs and reduce 276 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to shutting down 72 coal power plants or removing 50 million cars from the road.

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Small Cell Wireless Technology in Cities

With the seismic shift toward smart cities and the internet of things (IoT), reliance on wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure is becoming greater and greater. Mobile phones, IoT devices and other small wireless gadgets are becoming ubiquitous. Wireless data consumption has reached approximately 1.8 exabytes per month in North America alone, and that number is projected to grow six-fold by 2022.

As cities navigate this rapidly-changing policy issue with both wireless and infrastructure providers and community residents, a number of considerations for the different stakeholders begin to emerge. We wrote this guide to help local elected officials navigate one crucial aspect of these changes: small cell deployment.

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Cities Count: Preparing for the 2020 Census

The census is changing. And we wanted to make sure cities understood what those changes would mean.

Municipal governments have an important relationship with the census — both as consumers of the invaluable data it gathers and as partners in ensuring the complete and accurate count of our cities. We released a guide to provide local leaders with objective information about and resources to prepare for the upcoming 2020 Census.

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State of the Cities 2018

And where else but NLC would you expect to find an annual report analyzing the content of almost 200 mayors’ state of the city speeches? We break them down by region, topic and subtopic, and readers can rest assured that this guide is the best resource for tracking local trends across the country.

What did mayors care about most this year? Economic development, infrastructure and budgets and management topped the list. And in 2018, for the first time, opioids, broadband access and climate change have emerged as new and growing concerns.

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Laura Cofsky smallAbout the Author: Laura Cofsky is the communications specialist for NLC’s Center for City Solutions.