WASHINGTON — The National League of Cities is teaming up with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs to do a series of reports over a three-year period on how city governments responded to, and are recovering from, the Great Recession.

The reports will explore how cities can adjust to the current economy, relieve constraints and plan for more sustainable growth. They also will provide the Federal Reserve with an understanding of the need for strong regional economies, the NLC said in a release.

“The fiscal outlook for U.S. cities has revealed a dire need for understanding and information about the underlying fiscal and economic capacities of cities and the factors that drive those capacities,” Chris Hoene, director of the NLC’s Center for Research and Innovation, said in the release.

The NLC’s annual surveys have shown that, during the past decade, cities have continually made budget cuts in infrastructure and personnel, including wages, pensions and benefits.

Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, said the recession has challenged cities’ ability to grow.

“The Great Recession has endangered city services and cities’ ability to invest in any future economic growth,” he said. “This level of analysis will enhance dialogue on issues like pensions, workforce development, cuts to social and human services, jobs, public safety and the tax base.”

The reports are being made possible from a three-year grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. During their work, the NLC and the college will be advised by a working group of the Fed, led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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