Catherine Geanuracos
December 8, 2019

Five issues facing local governments in 2020

...and how CityGrows can help!

Local government leaders will face a range of challenging issues in 2020. We based this list on conversations with our local government partners, themes and questions at the best-attended sessions at the conferences we attended this year, and what our partners at CivStart have learned through their conversations with counties across the country.

Where it's appropriate, we're offering ways that workflow automation tools like CityGrows can help with these important challenges. Here's what we think 2020 holds in store:

  • Economic Development: While the economy is strong, many communities are struggling to build equitable opportunity for all their residents and businesses. Unemployment is at historic lows, yet most regions and communities still need more family-sustaining jobs. Read how Albuquerque and New Orleans are increasing venture capital investment in underrepresented communities (via Living Cities). When governments bring business permitting and licensing workflows online, new businesses can start up faster, accelerating job creation.
  • Homelessness and housing affordability: Rising rents and home prices result when there's not enough housing supply. By the state's own assessment, California should be building four times as many units of housing per year than it is now. Seattle made it easier to build "Accessory Dwelling Units" which increase density without changing the character of single-family neighborhoods. When governments bring building and zoning workflows online, new housing can be built more quickly.
  • Cannabis regulation: For governments where it's already legal, they're struggling with how to manage and regulate. For places where it's not legal (yet), law enforcement and community leaders wonder when change will come to their communities. While some large governments have deployed expensive systems that have taken years to set up (and resulted in complaints about equity and fairness),that's just not a feasible option for smaller communities. If you're permitting cannabis-related businesses, digital applications and review allow for automatic transparency and clarity for your community, and don't have to break the bank.
  • The sharing/ gig economy: New forms of shared mobility and non-traditional work are changing communities. Shared cars, scooters and bikes may improve some aspects of mobility but reduce transit ridership. AirBnB may increase your community's net tourism volume, but upset some neighbors. Using workflow automation tools like CityGrows to host short term rental registration permits and tracking shared transit using tools like the Mobility Data Specification increase the likelihood that governments can understand (and effectively regulate if needed) new forms of economic activity.
  • Accessibility: While governments have been working towards improving physical accessibility for years, there's a new push (and new legal challenges) to governments' digital accessibility. Transitioning forms from PDFs into digital, responsive, screen-readable workflows can help.

What issues will your community be facing that aren't on this list? Is there a way that better technology and workflow automation could help?

We hope you're as inspired as we are by the great work being done in communities of all sizes across the country to increase prosperity, safety, and accessibility.

Catherine Geanuracos

CEO and Co-Founder of CityGrows. Dedicated to transforming government technology and helping local governments provide better service and do more with less. Former VP of City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission, co-founder of LA's Code for America Brigade Hack for LA. Catherine is the Chair of the Board for CicLAvia, north America's largest open streets bicycle events. She's based in Silver Lake in Los Angeles.

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