Our colleague Carol Coletta is once again plowing new ground in exploring ways that cities can be more competitive and can fulfill their roles as engines for the national economy.

To get an intriguing view of the profound impact that can come from incremental improvements in talent, green behavior and poverty, go to the CEOs for Cities‘ website and watch the video at the bottom of a page about the release of the City Dividends

Here’s the set-up:

Despite tough economic times, America’s 51 largest cities have the opportunity to collectively realize $166 billion in much-needed new wealth by focusing on performance improvements in three key areas: increasing the educational attainment of their citizens, reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled per person each day and reducing the number of people living in poverty, according to a new analysis, City Dividends, released by CEOs for Cities.

City Dividends, which was developed by Portland, Ore., economist Joe Cortright and presented to members of CEOs for Cities at its National Meeting in Chicago, calculates the monetary gains the top 51 metros could realize if they increase their college attainment by one percentage point (The Talent Dividend), reduce VMT by 1 mile per person per day (The Green Dividend) and reduce the number of people in poverty (The Opportunity Dividend) by one percentage point.

City Dividends
is designed to help urban leaders make the case for pubic policies that will help raise incomes, encourage citizens to drive less and increase opportunities for bringing people out of poverty. City Dividends establishes a framework for examining the policies, actions and conditions that are needed for cities to actually realize these gains in practice.

“In an era of fiscal constraint at every level of government, leaders must innovate new ways for producing wealth and opportunity,” said Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities. “Representing the nation’s primary source of wealth, employment and global competitiveness, cities are where the strategies to keep America moving forward must be developed and launched.”

Read more here.