Preemption, Opioid Crisis, Emergency Preparedness and more hot topics.

As a strategic partner for local governments, the mission of the National League of Cities is to offer practical solutions to the challenges city leaders face. Local leaders heading to Charlotte next month for City Summit will be a part of an exclusive opportunity to go deeper on the hot topics affecting American cities and towns. Learn which sessions cover the trending topics demanding the immediate attention of city leaders across America. Register now and join thousands of local leaders in Charlotte – November 15 – 18.







This is a guest post from Cynthia Koehler, Executive Director of the WaterNow Alliance and a session leader at City Summit 2017.

If there were any doubts about the central role of local decision makers in ensuring sustainable communities and resilient water infrastructure, Irma and Harvey have put them to rest. Many have observed that water — even more than rising temperatures — will be the primary mechanism through which most people will experience climate change.

Droughts will be more frequent and severe, and storms more extreme. Federal and state support in addressing these challenges is vital, of course — but the biggest opportunities to plan and be ready for them are at the local level.

Nationwide communities are shifting their thinking about water. For decades, we have siloed drinking water from stormwater from wastewater. This is mindset is giving way to experiments with integrated water planning — a sleep-inducing term for the intriguing idea that communities can achieve better resilience, affordability and environmental health by eliminating these silos.

This One Water approach posits that all water — whether tap, groundwater or the “blackwater” we flush away — should be treated as part of a consistently circulating hydrological whole.

Wastewater can be recycled for commercial and industrial purposes, golf courses and parks as well as potable use. Graywater, the soapy, more-benign cousin to blackwater, can be repurposed for outdoor irrigation. Stormwater can be captured by green infrastructure projects for groundwater recharge, improved water quality and flood control rather than being directed to the nearest drain, where it can overwhelm sewer systems.

Wetlands can serve as natural filters for pollutants entering rivers and streams, as well as opportunities for capturing and percolating storm and floodwaters. Watersheds are no longer viewed as distinct from utility infrastructure but as central features. And water technology is providing extraordinary innovation for cities and towns to use their water supplies more efficiently, often reducing the need for more expensive traditional infrastructure or enabling right-sizing.

At City Summit 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 15-18, we’ll have the opportunity to talk about the communities nationwide that have been experimenting with these One Water strategies with great success. From permeable “green” streets in Tucson, Arizona, to engineered wetlands in Phoenix and Goodyear, Arizona, to tree planting programs in San Antonio, Texas, America’s cities and towns are turning increasingly to these more sustainable options to address a variety of inter-related water issues. Cities as diverse as Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are developing comprehensive One Water plans.

Part of this shift is due to the fact that many of these innovative and greener approaches provide multiple community benefits and economic development as well as opportunities to address equity issues. Along with reduced flooding, GI can bring new life and aesthetics to disadvantaged neighborhoods and reduce heat island effects. Rain gardens capture stormwater runoff and also provide new parks and other local amenities. Recycling and other more “drought-proof” supply options can attract new business looking for water security.

One Water strategies are also often more affordable than more traditional water supply and water quality options, both to build and maintain, helping to reign in long-term debt and keep rate increases manageable.

None of this happens without local political leadership, however. WaterNow Alliance is proud to be partnering with NLC to bring these strategies, ideas and resources to local water leaders. In this new era there are no silver bullets, no answers that will always work everywhere. But One Water strategies can go a long way toward ushering in a new generation of innovation, solutions that can provide greater resilience, water security and affordability.

The time for local leadership on this issue is now. Get Inspired, get solutions, and get registered now for City Summit 2017 — we’ll see you in Charlotte!


Cynthia Koehler - WaterNow AllianceCynthia Koehler is Executive Director of the WaterNow Alliance and an environmental attorney and water policy expert with 20 years of experience working on federal and state water issues and legislation. She was previously the Environmental Defense Fund’s Legislative Director for California water issues, and the Legal Director for Save San Francisco Bay.

Olympic Gold Medalist, CEO, and Chairman, Earvin “MAGIC” Johnson will speak at City Summit this November

The National League of Cities (NLC) is pleased to announce that retired American NBA Basketball Star Magic Johnson will address delegates at City Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Having left the basketball court for the boardroom, Earvin “Magic” Johnson has successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity from the court into the business world as Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE). Learn about his passion for strengthening American cities and towns, and his actions to develop underserved communities, build inclusion and create an opportunity for all in various cities across America. Get inspired and take away proven tactics that will stimulate your local economy.

Register before September 30 to save with the advance rate.

This November, the country’s top conference for city leaders comes to North Carolina. With so many speakers, sessions, workshops, colleagues and local attractions, there’s only one question: What will you discover in Charlotte?


NLC  is pleased to announce that retired American Astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly and former state legislator and U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords will address City Summit delegates at the opening general session on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Ever since an assassination attempt severely wounded Gabby in 2011, the couple has inspired the world with their story of hope and courage in the wake of tragedy, serving as a symbol for the possibility of second chances. Gabby and Mark will tell the story of their journey and share inspiration for summoning courage through tough times and on the path to new goals. They will leave you with a new appreciation for the tenacity of those who refuse to be defeated, and the motivation to face and overcome any challenge with passion, bravery and your very best.



The Commodores 2015

The City of Charlotte will host what promises to be an epic closing celebration on Saturday night. Join your fellow delegates in the convention center ballroom for a special performance by the legendary Commodores! Dance the night away with this beloved R&B and funk group that helped define the motown era with hit after hit, including the tune we all know and love, “Brick House.”

And when you need to give your feet a break, sit back and enjoy the local flavor with a specially curated food and beverage menu. You will not want to miss this celebration!


Get a preview of the tunes you might hear in Charlotte:


By the City of Charlotte Host Team and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority |

The Queen City is excited to roll out the royal treatment for the 2017 National League of Cities City Summit, which will take place at the Charlotte Convention Center in heart of uptown Charlotte Nov. 15-18.

“Charlotte is thrilled to host the National League of Cities. The Charlotte City Council and I look forward to the arrival of our colleagues from cities and towns across the country,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts. “NLC has a great record for strengthening our cities and communities and we are honored to contribute to that mission. Charlotte is ready to showcase our real-world solutions to many of the issues facing local governments. We also welcome the opportunity to share the many amenities our vibrant center city has to offer including dining, entertainment, and cultural features that are distinctly Charlotte.”

Ideally positioned as the crown jewel of the Southeast, Charlotte is known for her diversity, distinct neighborhoods and high quality of life. The Charlotte region continues to be one of the fastest growing in the nation. Her charm—as a hub for innovative ideas and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere—will drive strong conference attendance.  NLC City Summit attendees represent small towns and big cities from 50 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada.

Hidden gems await the arrival of this year’s attendees. Rich in culture and history, our city offers many surprises, no matter your interests – sports, art, dining, music, or something else altogether – there’s always something new to discover about the Queen. She shines with nightlife, culture, parks, retail, entertainment and best of all, incredible people. Come experience the eclectic mix of modern and traditional, urban and natural that can only be found here!

You’re invited to stroll under the willow, oak and elm trees in Myers Park, wander the art galleries in NoDa, play a round of golf in Ballantyne or hit one of our trendy rooftops overlooking our skyline in Uptown. Ride our LYNX Blue Line light rail into South End or march to a different beat in Plaza Midwood.

As a complement to the traditional conference structure, the City of Charlotte will conduct 13 high-impact mobile workshops to showcase innovative and successful city initiatives. Guests and spouses will enjoy customized programming throughout the conference, including dynamic tours of the sites and amenities Charlotte is known for, along with special opportunities to experience her history, creativity and natural beauty.

Plans include a mobile bike tour along our cross city trail, exploration of our uptown avenue of the arts, and guided tours of historic sites and special districts as part of the conference line-up. Grab your spot soon! Mobile workshops and spouse/guest tours have limited spaces available, and many fill fast. You can add these tours during the initial registration process, or by logging back in to your registration account if you’ve already registered.

Guides and resources for planning your trip are available online through the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority website,, which features information on the “6 Amazing Experiences Exclusive to the Queen City” and “2017 Charlotte Official Visitors Guide.” Visit for more information and to register.

Dear City Leader:

We are excited to host the 2017 NLC City Summit in Charlotte, N.C., Nov. 15-18 and invite you to join us for four days of networking, knowledge sharing, and working to make our cities and towns even better places to live, work, and play.

In addition to seminars that build technical and leadership skills, you will also enjoy mobile workshops throughout the Queen City that showcase some of our real-world solutions to issues facing local governments including our highly successful light rail project, our focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, our aggressive affordable housing initiative, and our world-class sustainability program.  You will also benefit from the more than 250 vendors on hand to introduce you to new products, services, and programs that may offer a perfect solution for your city or town.

All this takes place against the backdrop of our exciting and dynamic city center. We are committed to be a welcoming and inclusive city where everyone feels respected and safe. Our Always Welcome Charlotte campaign is embraced by many of our restaurants, hotels, and shops to reaffirm our community as one that supports, celebrates, and welcomes everyone.

We hope you will find time during your visit to enjoy some of the many amenities our city has to offer including the Levine Center for the Arts which includes The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the US National Whitewater Center. In addition, our vibrant Center City offers dining, entertainment, and cultural features that are distinctly Charlotte.

We invite you to Charlotte to explore all that our city has to offer and welcome the opportunity to share our southern hospitality with you.

With warm regards,

Jennifer Watson Roberts
Marcus D. Jones
City Manager