Local government leadership has always involved managing the so-called “challenge of change.” But transformations over the last half-century and especially the last several years—exponentially advancing technology, the most significant global pandemic in modern lifetimes, a warming planet and threats to finite natural resources, and political and social instability at scales from international to local, just to name just a few—have dramatically and forever altered the conditions in which local governments operate. Local Government Reimagined reflects ICMA’s long-term commitment to helping public administrators innovate and adapt their leadership practices, management strategies, and operations in the name of more resilient and equitable outcomes for their work and their communities.

Our Local Government Reimagined framework spans several broad, interconnected themes. Through this initiative’s research, content, and programming, we will explore adaptations and innovations appropriate for today and the near-term tomorrow, as well as those that may be necessary for challenges lurking over the horizon for the next generation of public administrators. It’s about helping local government leaders anticipate and understand the challenges impacting their work and communities, recognize opportunities for and target improved outcomes, and figure out how to get there.


What have we learned about effectively engaging others in developing, achieving, articulating, and embodying a shared set of values, shared sense of purpose, and shared vision in the face of so much change and uncertainty? We’ll explore how public servants can adapt leadership approaches to navigate current and future challenges.

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ICMA and the local government management profession have built a 100+ year history around ethical, efficient, transparent, and results-oriented oversight of local government operations. To ensure leaders and the local government workforce continue to meet those obligations, we’ll focus on the challenges and opportunities in future-proofing processes, systems, and policies.

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Service Delivery

Across the range of local government service areas, current expectations, systems, and delivery models often look vastly different than when many managers entered the profession. How, where, when, and by whom the work gets done present opportunities for reimagination to make the best use of resources and meet needs of the public.

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Thriving Economies

Local governments and communities worldwide are in varying states of rebounding from the pandemic, natural disasters, and other economic shifts. We will help leaders monitor and adapt to disruptive industries and trends, as well as identify opportunities to promote economic mobility and inclusive, sustainable development.

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Livable Communities

The "wicked problems" impacting places can lead to opportunities for government staff and local stakeholders to communicate, build trust, and collaborate in new ways. We’ll explore approaches that are making a difference in community resilience and quality of life.

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