Sometimes, cities looking to implement an economic-development project need a little outside help. When the Twin Cities began an effort to develop a light-rail system that would connect downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul, local leaders needed resources and expertise to produce the most effective plan for their communities. That's where Living Cities comes in. A collaboration between 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions, Living Cities has been connecting city leaders with private sector capital for over two decades.
I sat down with Living Cities President and CEO Ben Hecht to find out how the organization targets its funds, and why addressing specific problems requires leaders to think system-wide: to think about how assets like jobs, transportation, and education fit together, not consider them in isolation.