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🌐 "An Atlas For Local Solutions"


Photo by Chris Montgomery / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Travis Loop
Guest: Ellory Monk | Co-Founder | The Atlas
Category: 🌐 Digital

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:11] “The Atlas is a free online community for local government officials and staff to do three things. The first is to browse case studies. The second is to follow trending topics in local government. And the third is to post questions to one another to crowdsource ideas and advice. We have about 3,000 local government leaders that are using The Atlas each month. And the thing that we're most known for, and the thing that they're utilizing the most is the case study database of best practices and the corresponding […] topics functionality.”

[5:25] “I was in DC, as well as my co founder, […] thinking that the federal government was the answer to all of the world's most gnarly problems. […] And working in DC, kind of by fate, we started working on federal initiatives that worked with local governments. So I worked extensively on the Hurricane Sandy rebuilding task force, which was working with a lot of local governments in New York and New Jersey. And in that work, [I] realized, local is where it's at. That's where the real action is. You're closer to people and so you're closer to the problem, which means that you're closer to the solutions.”

[9:51] “Our roots are in water. When we initially started The Atlas we had […] the most granularity in terms of the topics that were included were in water. And the most case study content that we had was in water. And I think that that trend has remained true over time. I think the reason for that, […] is because if local government is where the action is at, when compared to state and federal, I would argue that water is where the action is at when compared to many other types of infrastructure.”

[14:40] “There are basically four [water issues] that rank really, really high [within The Atlas community]. The four are green infrastructure and stormwater, lead and lead service line replacement. I would say data and tech broadly, there are a lot of things that kind of fall under that […] and then the fourth big one is sea level rise and climate.”

[20:02] “So I think the [issues] that pop up in conversations that are not as well reflected in the data are workforce development, […] specifically in regards to water infrastructure. And I think the other one is federal funding. […] How do I get it? What can I spend it on? How quickly am I gonna have to spend it? What types of strings are gonna be attached to this? How are other local governments spending it?.”

[33:42] “I was finding myself spending an enormous amount of time skimming through white papers, and a million different websites, trying to find these [papers]. And everything is written in different formats. […] And it's impossible to figure out whether or not something is actually relevant in a one minute kind of fashion. So our goal was to design these in a way that you could figure out very quickly just by scrolling the summaries what's relevant to you and what's not relevant to you.

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 39 min | 🗓️ 12/06/2021
✅ Time saved: 37 min