No one could have predicted what has unfolded in 2020. A global pandemic brought the world to a standstill and the last eight minutes and forty-six seconds of George Floyd’s life got us back on our feet again, more determined than ever to fight for justice, equality and freedom.

The uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement has seen a renewed sense of urgency to finally address the original sin of our nation and make the promise of this land real for Black Americans.

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Black Lives Matter protestors peacefully assemble in solidarity, 2020.

While we have made progress along the way, our work is not done. To overcome more than 400 years’ of systemic racism, first embedded in our founding documents, it’s going to take a new generation of honest, intentional, compassionate leadership to achieve our potential. …


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I was born and raised in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood and have lived and worked in Washington, D.C., London, and New York City. Cleveland is my home and nowhere else compares.

When I returned to Cleveland in 2014, I felt a new sense of energy. The Cavaliers’ resurgence, securing a major national convention and a revitalization of downtown all brought about a new origin story with economic promise.

There are discussions among leaders questioning if Cleveland’s economic renaissance is real. Others asked, can we sustain this moment of renewal? The answer is yes, but only if we include everyone.

Too often, we narrowly focus on brick and mortar development as a panacea for economic growth. A “build it and they will come” mentality is short-sighted. We have an economy that is not working today for the average Clevelander. It does not have to be that way tomorrow. …


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By: Justin M. Bibb
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Articles examining how smart cities will shape the future seem to be dominating the news these days. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal dedicated an entire series to The Rise of the Smart City, which highlighted how city leaders are finding new ways to leverage technology and data to solve major policy problems. Without a doubt, this is the age of the smart city. However, the question of “who” and “what” are we building the smart city for continues to be one of much debate.

In its simplest form, a smart city can be defined as an urban development vision that leverages technology to manage a city’s assets. Within the U.S., according to Black and Veatch’s 2017 Smart City/Smart Utility Report, industry leaders from the private and public sector primarily see reducing operating costs and improving community satisfaction as the main drivers of smart city initiatives. And in a majority of cases, many smart city projects are initiated or led by stakeholders from the top. While this approach is merit worthy, it can’t be the only way cities view smart city development. For cities to truly realize the benefits of smart city initiatives they must embrace a “bottom-up” approach or risk wasting precious resources and expending political capital for limited returns. …


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by Steven Bosacker and Justin Bibb

Falling revenues, major demographic shifts and rising citizen demands have become the new normal for city governments across the U.S. If city halls want to deliver on their promises to provide high-quality services, they’ll need to find better ways to make government run more effectively.

One big way to do that is to view every city employee as a key contributor to their success.

Every single one.

Local elected officials who treat their public workforce as anything less than their №1 resource are missing the boat. City employees are usually the largest line item in the budget. They know firsthand the public’s concerns because they’re on the front lines, and often they exhibit the exact depth of commitment to the community we’d want and expect from such service providers. …


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by Justin McCarthy and Justin Bibb

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Entrepreneurial ambition has receded among racial and ethnic minority students in grades five through 12 in the U.S., according to the latest findings from the Gallup-HOPE Index. Though a majority of nonwhite students (54%) said in 2011 that they intended to start their own business, this figure fell to a new low of 42% in 2016.

About

Justin Bibb

Proud native son of Cleveland, OH. Chief Strategy Officer at Urbanova, Founder of #CLECantWait. Passionate about cities, entrepreneurship, and social justice.

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