As city leaders across the country search for ways to implement climate action plans, they are increasingly turning to multi-sector partnerships. Such collaboration efforts bring together businesses, government, non-profits, and community leaders in an attempt to implement programs that without strong cooperation, would seemingly be impossible.
Success stories from such partnerships can be found in cities both big and small. They include well-integrated mass transit projects, green infrastructure developments, and the rebuilding of dilapidated communities. These projects have yielded tremendous results—boosting local economies, creating new jobs and affordable housing, connecting neighborhoods, and decreasing overall carbon footprints.
What each of these projects has in common is that none of them could have been accomplished without the strong support of leaders from all sectors of the economy. Municipalities must identify community needs and target opportunities for success. Collaboration across many sectors must be facilitated, and the inclusion of businesses, faith groups, non-profits, higher-education, and government must be exploited to provide an alliance for positive change.
The famous American author and political activist Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
This sentiment never ages. As I repeatedly hear, partnership is the new leadership. For those grinding away developing partnerships for urban regeneration projects, this can be at times a double-edged sword.
In Portland, there is an exciting initiative taking place that was decades in the making. The city of Portland is noteworthy for its construction collaboration, with government, the private sector, and non-profits uniting to achieve outcomes that would not have been possible if attempted on their own. These partnerships have helped bring about greater impact overall, as the following examples show:
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