Collaborative Innovation System

USDN’s programs are ever-evolving, allowing members to collaborate to address challenges and opportunities facing multiple cities. Data collection around these activities allows USDN to assess which innovations yield the most effective outcomes over time.

What began with a $100,000 collaboration fund in 2009 - captured in this 2013 report, The State of Innovation in Urban Sustainability - has evolved into two USDN-housed funds and two partner network funds. Together, these four funds have awarded over $15.9 million for over 344 projects that drive innovation, scaling, and adoption of urban sustainability practices. 

Right now, USDN members and staff are working hard to adapt to current events, to acknowledge and ease the pain and suffering in their communities, and to build a better future from this challenging time of disruption. After a pause for deliberation, the USDN Innovation Fund and Peer Learning Exchange committees have decided to merge 2020 funding opportunities into a single RFP. This experiment is piloting a rapid-response approach within the USDN network. 

The USDN Innovation Fund supports member collaborations to develop innovations that address problems or opportunities in sustainability, or scale up proven innovations. Read more about the USDN Innovation Fund in 2019.

The USDN Peer Learning Exchange Fund supports learning exchanges between two or more member communities to accelerate the spread of innovative practices. Read more about the USDN Peer Learning Exchange in 2019.

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance Funds support collaborations among international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Read more about CNCA in 2019.

The Partners for Places Fund, operated by The Funders’ Network, supports collaborations between a city and a local funder to build stronger relationships across sectors and support adoption of innovations in urban sustainability. Read more about P4P in 2019.

Learn more about USDN collaborative projects »