In recent years, the federal government has re-engineered its approach to working with cities and local communities. This new approach positions federal agencies as innovators and strategic partners, working in a coordinated fashion with local governments and their stakeholders to solve problems by efficiently navigating the federal bureaucracy and tapping into a wide range of federal financial and technical assistance resources. Federal teams representing multiple agencies assist local communities in partnership building, project planning and implementation, and using data and digital tools to strengthen communication, coordination, and citizen engagement.

Interagency federal teams have been prototyping this new model across the country, from Baltimore to Detroit to Fresno, and a number of cities and communities in between. As the work of these teams has progressed, a set of patterns and themes has emerged around the specific steps taken for establishing and managing these coordinated teams, the types of federal resources the teams are leveraging in local communities, and the ways these teams are working together with communities to convene partners, plan and implement cross-cutting initiatives, and build local capacity.

This Gitbook has been informed by those individuals who are doing the work on these teams. It presents the common “plays” taken by interagency federal teams from start-up to ramp-up and full implementation to wind-down and sustainability phases. It provides a detailed listing of the types of resources and assistance these teams have helped local communities access. And it shares several specific examples of how these teams have operated in local communities.

One of the most valuable lessons to date of these interagency federal teams is that the work and approach of each team varies, depending on the local communities and circumstances. Recognizing that the “plays” and resources will evolve over time, this Gitbook is designed as an open platform so that federal employees and local partners can contribute their own experiences, examples, and lessons learned working with interagency federal teams serving local communities. We encourage readers of this Gitbook to become users and to contribute your insights and ideas. You can contribute feedback by creating inline comments after highlighting text you wish to comment on, or by leaving comments in the discussion section.

The 21st Century Cities Initiative

The 21st Century Cities (21CC) Initiative at Johns Hopkins University is a university-wide Signature Initiative that brings together civic and community leaders, researchers, students, and others with a vital interest in cities. Our goal is to help solve pressing challenges of cities in the 21st Century that have had to address sharp demographic and economic changes. We are a knowledge-creation enterprise that approaches research and policy development from a cross-disciplinary lens and through close engagement with cities and their civic leadership. To learn more, visit For additional comments concerning the content of this Playbook, please email [email protected]


The Federal-Local Partnerships Playbook was developed under the direction of Ben Seigel, Executive Director of the 21st Century Cities Initiative. Brittany Dernberger, Rachel Becker, and Emily Warren served as lead researchers, writers, and producers of the document. 21CC is thankful for the input and guidance from the teams at the White House Office of Management and Budget Community Solutions Task Force; Strong Cities, Strong Communities; and Federal teams for Baltimore, Detroit, and Fresno.

© 2016

results matching ""

    No results matching ""