Knoxville has been recognized as a high-performing “smartly resourced” city in the inaugural Equipt to Innovate assessment, which used a new framework developed by Living Cities in partnership with Governing, a division of e.Republic, a media and research company that focuses on local government.

Cities are expected to respond nimbly and effectively to address challenges, the Equipt to Innovate survey team explains. No single lens by itself can provide enough information to determine how a city is doing – or how it will perform in the future.

The Equipt to Innovate initiative is an integrated, collaborative framework that measures seven essential elements – for example, how data is used, or how broad community engagement and partnerships are keying success. Equipt to Innovate is also an invitation for cities to work together, learn from each other and help drive better outcomes for their communities.

Sixty-one cities across the country participated in the first-ever Equipt to Innovate survey, assessing their capacity and competence in seven key areas.

Knoxville was recognized as a leader in the “Smartly Resourced” measurement last month in Phoenix at the Summit on Government Performance & Innovation, presented by Governing and Living Cities. Mayor Madeline Rogero was a panelist in a discussion entitled, “Cities Rising – How Mayors Are Taking the Lead.”

Other high-performing “Smartly Resourced” cities listed in the survey and accompanying “Becoming a High-Performing City” report are El Paso, San Antonio and Boston.

What’s it mean that Knoxville rated well as a “Smartly Resourced” city?

“This Equipt element comprises conventional measures of a well-run city – the effective management of revenue and expenditures, and responsible investments in infrastructure, technology and people – plus the shift toward evidence-based budgeting, public-private partnerships and other innovations,” the survey report states.

“Most cities in the survey look to private sector and philanthropic partnerships to help fund new programs and initiatives. At the same time, cities including Knoxville and San Antonio use the annual budget process to adjust or eliminate existing programs based on their effectiveness.”

High-performing “Smartly Resourced” cities like Knoxville regularly evaluate performance, incorporate effective metrics and maintain “a clear pathway to action to help ensure the wise allocation of resources, such as using technology to streamline and improve services.”

Model cities also set aside savings, improve their credit ratings and generate new revenue by fostering new business development, according to the report.

Governing and Living Cities support the “Equipt to Innovate” initiative because it provides fresh perspectives and allows cities to more easily share what works well.

“The Equipt framework gives us a way to look at cities in a multidimensional way,” says Mark Funkhouser, publisher of Governing. “Cities that perform well across the seven elements are able to adapt to and even anticipate the next challenge.”

 “To achieve fundamentally better results, innovative municipal governments must become dynamically planned, broadly partnered, resident-involved, race-informed, smartly resourced, employee-engaged and data-driven,” says Steven Bosacker, principal for public sector and partnerships at Living Cities. “These cities are showing us the way.”

For a comprehensive overview of the survey findings and a discussion of how cities fared across the categories, download the report “Becoming a High-Performing City: A Benchmark Study” at

About Governing:

Governing is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

About Living Cities:

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at


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