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Piloting Multi-Actor Frameworks in Small and Mid-Sized Cities in the United States

Piloting Multi-Actor Frameworks in Small and Mid-Sized Cities in the United States

The Strong Cities Network, in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of Illinois Chicago and the McCain Institute, along with inputs from a dynamic, multi-disciplinary group of subject matter experts (SMEs), will pilot a model for the development of local multi-actor prevention frameworks in six small and mid-sized cities across the United States:  Albuquerque, New MexicoBend, OregonChattanooga, TennesseeGolden Valley, MinnesotaOverland Park, Kansas; and Stamford, Connecticut

This fills a gap in existing support for local prevention efforts, which often overlooks the role of cities, particularly smaller ones. To do so, Strong Cities will:

1. Engage with the local government to build a local multi-disciplinary leadership group in each city (chaired by a representative of the local government);

2. Build the capacities of each group to understand and navigate the threat landscape and the multitude of existing targeted and other violence prevention resources, and

3. Work with each group to develop and deliver a local prevention framework that draws from existing, global, city-led efforts to address targeted violence while being contextualised to the needs of actors in their specific communities.

The Context

Targeted violence continues to pose a significant threat to cities across the United States, with rising levels of antisemitism, Islamophobia, LGBTQ+ phobia, anti-government violence, hate speech, and disinformation undermining democracy and rupturing our social fabric. While cities face the brunt of hate-motivated incidents and their long-term impacts on social cohesion and resilience, their role in preventing targeted violence, particularly that of small and mid-sized cities, often remains overlooked. Moreover, while there are a number of prevention resources that cities can draw from as they seek to address targeted violence in their communities, there is limited support and guidance for cities to then be able to implement and sustain local prevention frameworks that both respond to the needs of their communities and facilitate coordination of multiple community-based and government actors and programmes. This is particularly challenging among small and mid-sized cities that have less capacity to implement targeted violence prevention programmes without dedicated support to do so. 

Why Cities?

Cities often remain overlooked and unsupported to achieve their vital role in the prevention of (and response to) targeted violence. Their potential to stem the rising tide of hate and extremism before it manifests in violence is significant: not only do they have access and proximity to, and directly interface with, their residents, they often already lead innovative efforts to address other public safety and social and public health challenges that can be leveraged for prevention. They are also uniquely positioned to coordinate community-based resilience-building and related efforts, thus facilitating a more efficient, integrated, and united response to targeted violence and its impacts. Perhaps most importantly, there is growing appetite among small and mid-sized US cities to prevent and respond to a threat that continues to spread. However, they often need advice and other support, including opportunities to learn from cities that have experienced and responded to incidents of hate and extremist-motivated violence.

Strong Cities Network

Goal, Objectives & Features 

The goal of this programme is to build the capacity of local governments in small and mid-size cities to develop, implement, and sustain multi-actor frameworks for targeted violence prevention that are tailored to the often-unique needs and resource limitations faced by local governments. Through this programme Strong Cities will work with a select number of cities to build local infrastructure and partnerships that enable a coordinated, multi-actor approach to enhancing “societal resilience” to, and increasing “societal awareness” of, drivers of hate-motivated and other targeted violence and which leverage existing resources and structures wherever possible.
The programme will pilot this effort in six, geographically-diverse small and mid-sized U.S. cities, working directly with local government practitioners and other local actors in each community to develop contextualised, locally-driven frameworks for preventing targeted violence and related threats. Key features of the programme are:

Benefits to pilot cities

By the end of the programme, each city will have a city-led multi-actor structure responsible for overseeing and coordinating efforts to prevent targeted violence, a prevention plan, a directory of relevant programmes and stakeholders that it can leverage as it delivers this plan, and continued access to Strong Cities and other resources for local targeted violence prevention. Strong Cities will ensure learnings from its global portfolio of city engagements are shared with the pilot cities of this programme. This includes through newsletters, invitations to the Network’s monthly webinar series, and direct sharing of relevant, newly-identified city practices with the pilot cities. Cities will also be invited to participate in relevant Strong Cities workshops and other activities.

Hear from Partner Cities

Mayor Kebler had the honor to represent Bend at the Fourth Strong Cities Network Global Summit in New York last month. We are now excited to announce that we are formally joining the Strong Cities Network as a member city! We will also be partnering with Strong Cities to develop a whole-of-city plan to prevent and respond to hate and extremist-motivated violence and related threats facing our communities. It is at the local level where prevention can be most effective – we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our citizens and community to develop innovative efforts to bring the community together, including our Human Rights and Equity Commission and Welcoming Week activities for those new to Bend and new to our country. We look forward to working with Strong Cities to build on these efforts.

City of Bend, Oregon, USA

Overland Park is proud to partner with the Strong Cities Network on a pilot initiative to bring government and community together to develop a comprehensive approach to prevent hate, extremism, and polarization from taking root in our city. Maintaining social cohesion in our city in the midst of the increasingly-divisive time in which we are living is a priority. Overland Park prides itself on the innovative approaches it is taking to build and strengthen trust with and between our communities, from our Crisis Action Team to the Neighborhood Executive Committee. Together with Strong Cities, we look forward to further strengthening these efforts.

City of Overland Park, Kansas, USA

We’re thrilled to announce that we will be working with the Strong Cities Network to comprehensively address hate, extremism and polarization in our communities. Having become Strong Cities member earlier this year, we have already benefitted from meeting and learning from counterparts across the country and around the globe on innovative city-led solutions to some of the most pressing social problems that we face.

City of Stamford, Connecticut, USA


This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships,
opportunity number DHS-23-TTP-132-00-01.



Jordan Reimer

Senior Manager, North America

Eric Rosand

Executive Director


Strong Cities in the USA

A global network of cities in different national and local contexts ensures that wherever a city is located, there will be other cities facing similar challenges and with similar capacities and needs.

Is your city a Strong City?

Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.