About the Project: Regulatory Reform for the 21st Century City

By Regulatory Reform Team • October 11, 2013


Working with US cities, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School is building an inventory of regulatory best practices that will support local governments in streamlining regulatory processes, while at the same time supporting local and regional economic development.

This Smith Richardson Foundation funded research will be a resource for those US and International cities looking to learn more about regulatory reform, as well as those interested in replicating and adapting best practices to streamline regulatory development, licensing and permitting, and compliance in their own city.

Given the importance of small businesses for job creation in American cities and the opportunity for growth in entrepreneurialism, cities should be considering how local regulations might affect growth and look for ways to reduce red-tape in order to further stimulate local, regional, and ultimately the national economy.

In large part, the regulatory framework has simply grown over time without rigorous challenging of the rationale. In addition, digital technology, analytics, data sharing, and interconnectedness can change the way citizens interact with their environments and businesses interact in the marketplace.

These themes, as well as others, will be explored through this exciting research initiative. All knowledge will be disseminated through this website for governments, policy experts, stakeholders, and those interested in gaining more information about this important economic development topic.

If your city, or a city you know, is working on regulatory reform, has a regulatory best practice in place, or is facing challenges in this area, please contact us.

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About the Author

Regulatory Reform Team