Cities of Opportunity

A cohort program for municipal officials working towards building a healthy community

AML Launches Cities of Opportunity AK

AML is excited to lead our Cities of Opportunity program, which responds to the Alaska Conference of Mayors continued emphasis on economic development and healthy communities. Our model for success is based on four building blocks of community: the physical, social, service, and economic/work environment.

A community’s living conditions are determined by the relative health of all four of these:

  • Physical environment – land use, transportation, housing, pollution, recreation
  • Social environment – urban/rural, safety, equity, diversity, media, civic engagement
  • Economic and work environment – employment, income, retail businesses
  • Service environment – education, health care, social services, childcare

Local governments have a direct and indirect role in responding to and influencing these, crafting local policy that expands the community’s capacity and articulates a vision for opportunity. City and borough leaders work alongside other partners, including at the State and Tribal level, depending on local circumstance. These strategic partnerships help to address institutional or systemic challenges, even as living conditions contribute to and communities can work to address quality of life, economies, and public health.

Cities of Opportunity AK envisions healthy communities driven by local governments that have the tools necessary to support economic development, effectively plan for capital maintenance and growth, navigate social needs, and work with partners to deliver accessible and affordable housing, childcare, education, and health care.

Utilizing a cohort approach, AML will work with up to 20 municipal leaders each year to:

  • Share experienced challenges and opportunities
  • Evaluate community or regional data and trends
  • Identify potential local government roles
  • Produce a road map for local government action
  • Connect with strategic partners to discuss implementation

Cohorts will meet monthly throughout the year; it is anticipated that participants would be at the staff leadership level, though elected officials could choose to participate. Each will be looked at in terms of best practices, local authority, partnerships, equity, and leadership.

Applications and fees for future cohorts will be announced when available.