The SC2 pilot was implemented in six cities representing different parts of the country, different economic structures and causes for decline, and different opportunities for revitalization. As Exhibit 2 illustrates, the cities ranged in size from relatively small to large metropolitan areas.
The pilot cities all faced budgetary constraints and staff who were too few in number or stretched too thin to address the challenges before them. As a result, city leadership and staff faced near daily crises with insufficient resources to respond in adequate and timely ways.
While the SC2 pilot was specifically designed to meet the needs of cities operating under these constraints, the constraints created challenges for the pilot. Cities needed to have a minimum amount of capacity to engage in developing and implementing ideas and strategies in collaboration with the SC2 team. Pilot cities also faced specific, local challenges that complicated implementation of the pilot. These challenges included the looming threat of a financial takeover in one city, a change of mayoral leadership early in the implementation process in another city, and long-standing tensions based on prior working relationships between certain federal employees and city staff in several cities.
By contrast, a few cities also had significant assets that the pilot could build upon during implementation. Two cities had received significant resources and technical assistance from the federal government, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities in recent years. Another city had begun planning for the implementation of high-speed rail service.
Challenges and opportunities such as these had implications for the successful implementation of the pilot, which will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent chapters.
Exhibit 2: Priority Areas of SC2 Pilot Cities