- UrbanLeap this week launched UrbanLeague, a free platform designed to help city managers and CIOs share ideas and questions about how to manage the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- The platform is split into two portals: one for CIOs, which is more technical, and another for city managers which focuses on policy. To date, 35 officials, including CIOs from Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, have joined UrbanLeague.
- The platform has three main features: live chat, which is deigned as vendor-free space to ask questions; the upcoming events board, where participants can share webinar links or create their own events; and the resources board, where participants can share access to policies, white papers, playbooks, guidelines and more.
The quick spread of COVID-19 has left many city leaders grappling with how to manage an unprecedented modern pandemic, while trying to stay calm and cooperative with concerned residents, private partners and regional leaders. The team at UrbanLeap is hopeful the UrbanLeague platform can be used as a safe space for city leaders to ask questions and be vulnerable in a time of need.
The live chat feature on UrbanLeague may offer the most immediate relief to city leaders who don't know which way to turn.
"Everyone is invited to share their pain points or simply share the work they're doing to address some of the challenges the communities are facing," said Jeremy Devray-Benichou, vice president of customer success at UrbanLeap. He said the hottest conversation topic right now is how to support remote staff that normally don't work from home.
UrbanLeap is one of may organizations hoping to assist local governments in navigating this public health crisis. Just this week, the Smart Cities Council released a COVID-19 mitigation tool to help city leaders and task forces visualize their coronavirus response plans. That tool highlights the power of collaboration, which Devray-Benichou says is crucial in this time.
"The idea [of UrbanLeague] is to break silos and make sure that our cities are not reinventing the wheel every time. Those communities are facing the same challenges," he said. "This has always been UrbanLeap's core objective - help cities be more informed, work faster and more effectively."
To keep up with all of our coverage on how the new coronavirus is impacting U.S. cities, visit our daily tracker.