This issue is the first step in the National Civic League's two-year project to review and revise the Model City Charter, a tool developed in 1897 by scholars and civic reforms seeking to create effective models for local government. Last published in 1989, revisions to the Model City Charter will encompass important changes to local government within the last twelve years, including its increasing role in promoting economic development and delivering social services. Contributors demonstrate that the new Model City Charter must also recognize the emergence of community based coalitions that mayors, council members, and commissions are turning to accomplish their goals and bring people to the table of community decision making. The specific needs of larger cities to move from council-manager models to revised charters that augment the powers of the mayor, as well as the emerging prominence of the chief administrative officer, are discussed. Providing an overview of the issues facing the broad group of citizens, academics, and public officials convened to evaluate the framework in which local governments, the National Civic League has begun the task of bringing the Model City Charter forward into its second century. The articles include: How American City Governments Have Changed - The Evolution of the Model City Charter, H. George Frederickson, Curtis Wood, and Brett Logan; Do We Still Need Model Charters? The Meaning and Relevance of Reform in the Twenty-First Century, James H. Svara; An Interview with Terell Blodgett, Michael McGrath, Council-Manager; Government - Alive and Leading Today's Best-Managed Communities, William H. Hansell, Jr.; Whither Local Government Reform? The Case of Wisconsin, James Simmons; The Manager as Political Leader, John Nalbandian; Making Regions Viable by Making Them Imageable, Allan D. Wallis; Hispanics, Social Capital, and Civic Engagement, Gary M. Segura, Harry Pachon, and Nathan D. Woods; The Dynamics of Social Capital - Creating Trust-Based Relationships and Trustworty Environments, Larry Lemmel; Community Development and Systems Thinking - Theory and Practice, Nina Spruill, Con Kenney, and Laura Kaplan.