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Ellory Monks

Co-Founder of @TheAtlas4Cities. Yes: infrastructure, cities, environment. Also: USMC, real food, women engineers, Rice University. No thanks: running.

Created: Friday, February 8, 2019 | Updated: Monday, April 8, 2019

Cities to Participate in Procuring Resilience Workshop: Final List Announced!

This May, officials from 7 cities and a select group of private sector leaders will come together in Detroit, MI to jumpstart action towards upgrading water infrastructure systems at the Procuring Resilience Workshop. You can see the initial announcement here. I’m repeating some of the background information from that post for folks who are just learning about this effort.

Public-sector innovation is hard, even for big, high-capacity cities. Innovation is even tougher when the subject is something essential to the health and safety of a city, like water infrastructure.

To make innovating easier, city officials need access to tools that generate new ideas, new partners, and new money to implement creative solutions. A number of big cities and counties like AtlantaBostonPhiladelphia, and Prince George’s County have been experimenting with procurement tools — like Requests for Ideas (RFIs), competitions and challenges, and performance contracts — to do just that.

Smaller cities haven’t had the same opportunities to benefit from these tools. Until now.

We’re thrilled to be collaborating with re:focus partners and the U.S. Water Alliance, with the generous support of the Kresge Foundation, to host the Procuring Resilience Workshop. Recognizing the unique challenges, and opportunities, that smaller cities have to try something new, we’re bringing together a group of officials from 7 small- and mid-size cities and a select group of private sector leaders to explore how “big city” procurement tools can be adapted to work in smaller communities. Ultimately, the workshop’s goal is to lay out a path for testing these tools and jumpstarting progress towards upgrading legacy water infrastructure systems.

PC: Alvinge/BigStock
PC: Alvinge/BigStock

In keeping with our mission to bring cities & innovators together to solve gnarly problems, and as a part of our collaboration on this project, The Atlas nominated cities and private sector leaders to participate. We’re so excited to share the final set of city participants:

1. City of Anchorage, AK

2. Camden County Municipal Utilities (CCMUA), NJ

3. City of El Paso, TX

4. City of Gary, IN

5. City of Imperial Beach, CA

6. City of Norfolk, VA

7. City of Providence, RI

What an incredible, diverse group! These cities are sending 2–3 participants to the workshop — including public works directors, utilities directors and chief purchasing officers — to jumpstart progress towards upgrading legacy water infrastructure systems.

We also nominated leaders from some of the world’s most innovative companies, social businesses and NGOs to participate as well. All are on a mission to fundamentally reshape our nation’s water infrastructure. They include:

Quantified Ventures — innovative finance NGO

SCAPE — landscape architecture firm with extensive experience with green design competitions

OptiRTC, Inc. — sensor and cloud-based stormwater management technology company

o Meridiam North America — $1.2 billion infrastructure fund focused on P3s

Neighborly — innovative municipal bond investment platform

Infrashares — crowdfunding platform for public infrastructure financing

RePipe — trenchless “no dig” water main replacement solution

RISE — non-profit focused on catalyzing creative solutions to address sea-level rise, flooding & economic resilience

You can expect more updates over the next few months.

Urban innovation is not easy, and procurement innovation may not seem like the easiest place to start in making it any less challenging.

But in order for cities to buy different (better! smarter! more sustainable!) things, they have to be able to buy things differently.

Innovative procurement tools can do just that…help cities buy different things differently. And we’re always glad to be helping our partner cities add new tools to their toolboxes.