UrbanLeague connects city officials to fight the spread of COVID-19
Launched this week, a free platform called UrbanLeague aims to help city officials connect and learn how to handle the coronavirus outbreak. The network is designed for government leaders across the country to come together, share ideas, ask questions and support each other.
There’s a lot of noise and misinformation surrounding COVID-19, but city officials must act quickly and correctly in order to limit the impacts of the virus on their citizens. UrbanLeague was designed to fill that need, and to help city officials find information relevant to their city quickly. The network has two focuses, one for Chief Information Officers( CIOs), which is more technical, and one for city managers, which is more focused on policy.
To date, 35 officials, representing 32 cities and 3 counties from 15 states, have joined UrbanLeague, with CIOs from big cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Las Vegas, to smaller communities like Kalamazoo, Mich., or South Bend, Ind. This community has been built to address challenges across an array of topics — from facilitating remote work and education to addressing cybersecurity challenges, while ensuring digital inclusion and equity.
The network is a place for officials to share best practices and insights. It also tracks upcoming webinars, and hosts a long list of resources, including how-to’s on: preparing public transportation for COVID-19, working remotely, preventing the virus from spreading through homeless shelters, handling economic assistance for small businesses and more. Users can upload their own resources and community events, and are encouraged to provide information they think will help others.
The platform is moderated, which keeps discussions on task, and directs city officials to meaningful resources. Those who join will also be vetted to ensure that the right people have access to the right information. This process creates a safe place for public servants to ask questions.
UrbanLeague is a no-cost platform. Neither cities, nor the city officials who join, are asked to pay anything. UrbanLeap, the company that put out the network, already works with numerous cities, helping them track pilot programs and discover new solutions to city challenges. It was important for the company to not limit this platform to its current customers, but to allow any CIO or city manager who requested access.
“In a pandemic, it falls on the cities and states to be the front line,” UrbanLeap’s CEO, Arik Bronshtein, said in a statement. “We’ve built UrbanLeague in a record time to enable those at the local level to act faster and be more informed.”