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Americans’ lives remain deeply affected by what transpires at the local levels of government. Constituents demand leaders who will deliver quality schools, safe neighborhoods, and other key services. Yet in recent years, this task has become all the more difficult, as the economic downturn has left municipal officials with fewer resources at their disposal. Perhaps now more than ever before, policy analysts, citizens, and public officials themselves stand to benefit from an objective, impartial measure of which governments are outperforming others. The Manhattan Institute’s Index of Urban Governance Quality has laid the groundwork for such a measure. This pilot study ranks five large cities with respect to four areas of local governance: public safety; educational quality; quality of public spaces; and business environment.