As part of a national effort to develop solutions that improve the health and wellbeing of city residents, the City of Roanoke has been chosen as one of 12 cities to join the National League of Cities (NLC) “Cities of Opportunity” initiative. Other cities making up the NLC “Cities of Opportunity” pilot cohort are Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; East Point, Ga.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Hopewell, Va.; Huntington, W. Va.; Lansing, Mich.; New Orleans, La.; and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The goal of this initiative is to help local leaders build cities where all residents can reach their potential and live productive, fulfilling, and healthy lives in thriving communities – and ultimately ensure cities of opportunity for all residents. With the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this program will help city leaders develop and implement robust, integrated action plans for their communities.
“As the only seven-time All-America City in the Nation, I can say without a doubt we are a city that takes its civic responsibilities seriously,” said Roanoke Mayor Sherman P. Lea. “While Roanoke is seeing success in the growth of its economy and vitality, our participation in this program will identify new ways to help all our citizens benefit from this momentum.”
Pilot cities will focus on three major factors that affect health, identified through key informant interviews with a diverse group of mayors, council members and other city leaders:
? Economic Opportunity – the capacity to work and support a family, plan for the future and improve one’s standard of living;
? Housing – an affordable, safe and healthy place to call home, with access to jobs, schools
and community resources; and
? City Planning & Design – land use and transportation decisions that enable residents to be connected to the people, places, resources and services they need.
Representatives from the selected pilot cities will meet this October in Atlanta to advance their work together, and NLC will share insights and learnings from the pilot. Results of this initiative will be used in the development of the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Master Plan.