This year’s offerings cover topics ranging from infrastructure to public health. Mobile workshops are included in the registration fee, but since space is limited— you will need to sign up in advance. Register now, sign up for mobile workshops and get solutions from the City of Charlotte to implement back home.

Here are a few you don’t want to miss


Franklin Water Treatment Plant
Extending Our Reach: A Tour of the Blue Line Extension Light Rail Project


Economic Mobility & Opportunity

Goodwill Opportunity Campus
Hand in Hand Together: Charlotte’s Creative Neighborhood Improvement Model



Quality H20: Treating Urban Run-off
Rooted: Explore our City in a Forest



Public Safety & Health

Walk This Way: Building Healthy Communities One Step at a Time
Arts & Parks Urban Walking Tour



Economic Development

City of Rock Hill – Success Story of Public Sector Investment in Sport Tourism
Put Me In, Coach! Charlotte’s Urban Sports Venues and the Partnerships Behind Them


From decorative neighborhood markers to community gardens, the City of Charlotte and residents take pride in their neighborhoods and it shows. The partnership and relationship the city creates with neighborhoods is an integral part of building stronger communities. During the NLC City Summit, attend “Hand in Hand Together: Charlotte’s creative neighborhood improvement model” to see examples of various projects that were funded through the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood Matching Grant Program.

The city deploys financial equity, while the community offers sweat-equity

The grants provide financial assistance for anything that will offer a communal value in the neighborhood. The city works with the community to determine the needs, looks for resources and makes a connection to enhance everyone’s quality of life. Some examples include gardens, park improvements, recreational trails, bike racks, decorative street lights, speed humps, wall murals, sculptures and signal box wraps. They can also ask for assistance for things that will help their neighborhood branding and development like neighborhood signs.

It’s important to note that these are matching grants. Neighborhoods have to put in at least 50 percent volunteer hours or additional funding. While it starts as a project, the end goal is engagement. By having communities put in their own sweat equity, they get to meet their neighbors and work directly with city staff. After the projects, the community becomes stronger because they learned to work together. And in the process, people learn skillsets like grant writing which can give them experience to use in their jobs.

NoDa: Matheson bridge mural

Explore the success of the city-community partnership

On this tour, you will explore multiple examples of communities who benefited from the Neighborhood Matching Grants Program. Here’s some of the stops on the tour:

  • Plaza Midwood: bike racks, bike repair station, Can Do Signs, neighborhood signs
  • Belmont: identity and marketing, beatification, programming, Better Block project
  • Villa Heights: Cordelia Park public art, Villa Heights community garden and signage, Cordelia Park Greenway benches
  • Optimist Park: community entrance ID signs
  • NoDa: Matheson bridge mural, Davidson Street bridge railings
  • Druid Hills: community garden and adult fit park
  • Brightwalk: neighborhood wayfinding signs
  • McCrorey Heights: mosaic mural at Oaklawn Language Academy

Instead of saying “No”, this project asks the community what it wants to do, then places signs that give users of public space amusing, enchanting, and fun options. You can dance! You can sing! You can skip! You can hold hands!

When you join this bus tour, you’ll get access to the model program for neighborhood grants in the United States. The City of Charlotte’s program is innovative—working with a smaller budget than other municipalities, but able to implement more projects with less money.

 “It’s rare for governments and neighborhoods to partner financially,” says City of Charlotte Neighborhood & Community Partnerships Manager, Nicole Storey. She adds “With applicants receiving up to $25,000 for a project, the city is able to create significant change in a community.”

We hope to see you on the tour to visit the heart of our city, our neighborhoods!

Look up! When you visit Charlotte, for this year’s NLC City Summit, you’ll likely see a lush tree. Charlotteans are proud of their trees and it shows. You’ll see many trees and learn more about Charlotte’s approach to trees as part of the “Rooted: Explore our city in a forest mobile workshop.

City Arborist Tim Porter and others will lead you through how the city continues to grow its tree canopy. Porter, the main voice for the city’s tree canopy, manages a team that maintains nearly 180,000 street trees in the right of way and thousands more on city properties. His team is responsible for care, preservation and advocacy of the city’s public trees. This includes trimming and removing trees, issuing permits and ensuring the Tree Ordinance is followed.

“The Charlotte Community continues to place a high value on trees,” said Tim. “Trees have always been considered important throughout Charlotte’s history by all stakeholders from politicians to business owners to community leaders and residents.”

City of Charlotte Arborist Tim Porter

City staff with the right expertise and years of experience

Charlotte is dedicated to its trees and employs several strategies to keep it that way. One approach is through maintaining trees on public property. The city’s tree ordinance, tree commission and city arborist have been in place since the late 1970s. Now there are more than 30 International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists on staff. The city’s Landscape Management and Urban Forestry groups are housed within the city’s Engineering and Property Management Department and both groups work closely on a daily basis with engineers, construction managers, stormwater professionals and planners to protect and plant trees.

Preserve vegetation and create sustainable communities for decades

Trees are also deeply rooted in policy. For decades the city has integrated tree protection and planting into its regulatory, capital project and general operations-based policies. In 2011, Charlotte City Council adopted a goal to grow the tree canopy coverage to 50 percent by 2050.

Additionally, the city maintains a public/private partnership with TreesCharlotte, an organization that works to help achieve the tree canopy goal by planting trees and educating people about trees. City of Charlotte recently led an effort in partnership with TreesCharlotte, to develop an Urban Forest Master Plan that serves as a community playbook to guide all efforts of tree planting and preservation. This effort included community outreach to define the needs and desires of community members and a future outlook of the tree canopy.

TreesCharlotte Planting site at Garinger High School

Get new ideas from Charlotte to take home

During the Rooted: Explore our City in a Forest mobile workshop, tour you will see diverse examples of how the Charlotte community values, protects and plants trees. Explore the TreesCharlotte community planting sites, the Tryon Street Mall area, commercially-developed properties that exhibit key tree ordinance objectives and key tree canopy areas ranging from traditional forest settings to more urban pocket-park sites. Tour stops will range from highly designed/engineered developed sites to undeveloped conservation areas with mature forests and ponds.

The tour will have a short Uptown Charlotte walking component and bus transportation to various stops. Speakers include city arborists, engineers, executives, landscape architects and executive-level staff from TreesCharlotte.

If you’re not convinced to sign up for this tour yet, Porter says, “It’s a great time of the year to be outside in Charlotte and experience nature and the amazing tree canopy that has allowed Charlotte to attain the Arbor Day Foundations’ Tree City USA designation for 37 consecutive years.”

Here are some highlights on the tour:

  1. Tree Canopy Preservation Program conservation area: See a site that has been purchased by the city for the sole purpose of saving trees. These purchases are funded by mitigation payments made by developers who cannot meet tree-save requirements within their development sites. Visit the city’s website for more information.
  2. Uptown tree walking tour: Learn about the forward-looking plan to have tree-lined uptown streets. Sidewalks were specially engineered to accommodate tree roots using a cutting edge suspended sidewalk technique.
  3. TreesCharlotte planting site: Hear the story of the public/private collaborative that Charlotte has created and see some of the sites where volunteers and the community have come together to plant trees on public or private property.

Uptown City Trees on North Tryon Street

We hope to see you in Charlotte’s forest! See the other mobile workshops offered on Wednesday, November 15 and Thursday, November 16 and sign up now!

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.






Strengthen your leadership with advice from inspiring leaders who’ve had a major influence on shaping the America we love today. Learn more about the 2017 City Summit general session speakers and register now.

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly 

Address issues in public health & safety

Thursday, November 16 – Opening General Session
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. Did you know Mark Kelly and his sibling Scott are the only twins who’ve travelled to space and participated the NASA Twin Experiment?


Councilmember Matt Zone 

Create economic mobility & opportunity for all

Thursday, November 16 – Opening General Session
NLC President, Councilmember Matt Zone is widely known for the Economic Mobility and Opportunity Task Force – an initiative to close the gap of racial and economic disparities.  Hear key findings from the task force followed by a deep-dive plenary with local officials from the Task Force. Some people are just born to lead. Did you know Matt Zone comes from a family of public servants? interesting facts about your colleague.


Mayor Megan Barry

Battle opioids – living through the personal tragedy

Thursday, November 16 – Opening General Session
Hear Mayor Megan Barry’s story coping with a personal connection to the opioid epidemic and her commitment  to find solutions for millions of Americans dealing with this the wide-spread crisis. Learn how she continues to move forward standing priorities while also addressing emergency crises like the opioid epidemic. Watch Mayor Barry speak on a town hall panel about the battle against opioids


Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Foster economic development in underserved areas

Saturday, November 18 – Closing General Session

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. Did you know Magic Johnson invested one billion dollars in improving America’s infrastructure? Watch this video to learn more.


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: