Milwaukee’s COVID-19 response has been a remarkable mobilization of resources and organizations to address needs for shelter, food, testing, internet connection, and more. Necessity has forced such collective efforts in many cities, but Milwaukee’s may be unique in the civic architecture that has been built and that may be sustained beyond the crisis.

The experience of Milwaukee’s Civic Response provides a window into a city’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis that also offers six lessons for how collective impacts can be most effective in both meeting emergency needs and pursuing systems changes.

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