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Cities and the Innovation Economy

November 17, 2017  |  National League of Cities
The National League of Cities’ (NLC) Cities and the Innovation Economy: Perceptions of Local Leaders is a nationwide analysis of the current state of the ‘sharing economy’ and smart city technologies— including drones—and their impact on cities. Transportation network companies (TNCs) like Lyft and Uber as well as homesharing applications like Airbnb are having a transformative effect on cities in a myriad of ways. The regulatory environment has been upended in recent years as the concept of shared vehicles and homes has become mainstream. More recently, drones and smart city technologies of all types are permeating the urban environment at an accelerated pace.

The impact of these new technological interventions on local governments is still evolving. Broadly speaking, city leaders welcome the innovation that these new services provide to constituents, but the operating environment presents both opportunities and challenges to cities. To better understand the current state of the sharing economy in cities, NLC posed questions about cities’ relationships with sharing economy companies, their level of support for these companies and the formal partnerships that have been formed since their inception.

In order to best measure city leaders’ perceptions of the current innovation economy environment, this survey was conducted as a part of NLC’s biennial Local Economic Conditions survey, which measures the performance of economic indicators and drivers of local fiscal health.