Most notably, “fiscal mercantilism,” or the pursuit of economic development activities that negatively impact a municipality’s neighbors will be examined. Additionally, the Clinic will focus on segregation by race and class, difficulties with land-use planning, and disparities in technical expertise for managing local government. These topics are emerging as important throughout southwestern Pennsylvania
Recognizing that "no man is an island", the innovation clinic will work on new solutions for local government, including expanding current intergovernmental cooperation and developing new forms of it. Three "innovation areas" that could lead to reform in the region: increasing the role of county governments as regional governing bodies, transforming councils of governments (COGs) as active public service providers and decision makers within their organizations, and finally, increasing the use of special districts for the delivery of certain services.
While there have been intergovernmental cooperation successes
in the region, more can be done. Dr. Miller wants to conduct research and
prepare case studies in the three areas of government stated above, and analyze
how they could be applied in the Pittsburgh
region. The clinic will help facilitate intergovernmental cooperation efforts,
and will also aid in providing technical assistance for communities in these
efforts through the use of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students.
The work of the clinic will be supported by an interdisciplinary faculty advisory group from the University of Pittsburgh and other schools, a practitioner advisory group of elected and appointed government officials at the state and local levels, and members of civic organizations from the region. The clinic would also partner with these civic organizations, such as the Local Government Academy and Sustainable Pittsburgh, for training and technical support for municipalities.
The Innovation Clinic
emerges as a response by the University to information provided in three recent
studies that mention the importance of local governments working together for
service delivery. The Brookings Institution
produced two reports, one entitled Committing
to Prosperity: Moving Forward on the Agenda to Renew Pennsylvania, and
another entitled Strengthening
Rural Pennsylvania: An Integrated Approach to a Prosperous Commonwealth.
These reports talk of the “hollowing out”, or population loss, in the Pittsburgh region and PA
rural counties, and makes recommendations for intergovernmental cooperation for
service delivery. The
Pennsylvania Economy League’s 2007 report found that communities in PA are
declining in fiscal health and that tools for dealing with distress are not
effective. The report also recommends regional service delivery and
For more information on
the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate
School of Public and
For more information on
intergovernmental cooperation in the Pittsburgh
Associate Dean/Associate Professor
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs