Research Reports and Publications

ICMA publishes the results of surveys and other research projects that we undertake independently and in partnership with others.

ICMA’s research activities yield a growing body of information and knowledge about local government.  Based on our research, we produce survey summaries, case studies, research reports, LGR: Local Government Review, and other products that provide data, thoughtful analysis, and insights into best practices.

Summary Survey Results

Following the completion of each ICMA survey, we prepare Summary Survey Results that provide a quick glimpse of the findings. Among the survey topics are sustainability, municipal form of government, and alternative service delivery.

Research Papers

Occasionally ICMA publishes brief papers that summarize the state of research in a given area or use published research to provide a primer on the topic. Examples include Public-Private Partnerships (P3s): What Local Government Managers Need to Know and Improving Quality of Life: The Effect of Aligning Local Service Delivery and Public Health Goals.

LGR: Local Government Review

Published twice a year as a special section in Public Management magazine, LGR: Local Government Review, provides key research findings and expert insights into current local government issues and trends. Featured topics include resilient communities, the future workforce, citizen engagement, and cybersecurity.

LGR: Local Government Review, December 2017, powered by TownCloud

LGR: Local Government Review, June 2017

LGR: Local Government Review, December 2016

Products of Research Collaborations

In addition to our independent research, ICMA regularly conducts research in partnership with universities, nonprofit and private-sector organizations, and government entities. For example:

Smart Communities: Rethinking Infrastructure (with Siemens)

Smart Solutions: Technology Serving Communities E-Book (with IBTS, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety)

Smart Communities and Data Analytics (with SAS)

Cybersecurity: Protecting Local Government Digital Resources (with Microsoft)

Growing Local Food Systems: A Case Study Series on the Role of Local Governments (with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

The GIS Guide for Elected Officials (with Esri)

Advancing Social Equity Goals to Achieve Sustainability (with Arizona State University and funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and a series of related case studies

Solar Survey of Local Governments, 2016 (with the U.S. Department of Energy)

Bring Solar to Your Community: Themes, Summaries and Insights from 27 Case Studies (with the U.S. Department of Energy)

Shared Building Department Services (with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety)

Small Towns, Rural Communities and Sustainability (with the National Association of Development Organizations, the National Association of Counties and others and funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency)

Water Rate Approval Process Research (with ARCADIS, Stratus Consulting, the University of North Carolina, and Richard Atwater and funding from the Water Research Foundation)

Local Libraries Advancing Community Goals, 2016 (with Aspen Institute and the Public Library Association)

To explore potential research partnerships, contact Tad McGalliard at ICMA (

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