Photo of McFarland, Christiana K.

Christiana K. McFarland, PhD

Research Director, National League of Cities

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Christiana K. McFarland is the Research Director of the National League of Cities, the nation’s largest advocacy, resource and research organization dedicated to strengthening cities. She directs the organization's research agenda, strategies on supporting municipal leadership through data, and NLC’s major research, including City Fiscal Conditions and State of the Cities. Dr. McFarland also leads NLC's research partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, research on economic development, municipal finance, workforce development and city-state relationship issues, and NLC’s COVID-19 pandemic response and American Rescue Plan Act strategic data initiative. Most recently, she launched Regional Economic Connectivity to Promote Growth, Equity and Resilience, a multi-year, multi-sector partnership and research-to-practice initiative to identify factors, advance strategies and build capacity of local and regional leaders and practitioners to narrow urban-rural economic divides and address geographic and racial inequities within regional economies. Dr. McFarland has been with NLC since 2001, and prior to her post as Research Director, launched NLC’s finance and economic development program focused on supporting municipal leadership and outcomes in economic development, workforce development and municipal finance.

Dr. McFarland is a member of the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification Standards Committee, an editorial Board member for the peer-reviewed journal State and Local Government Review, and a member of the GFOA Revenue Reform Taskforce. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and Economics and Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University, and a PhD in Planning, Governance and Globalization from Virginia Tech.