The first policy pronouncement in President-Elect Trump's victory speech was, "We are going to fix our inner cities."
"Just as it was a mistake for Democrats to demonize and ignore suburban and rural Republican voters, it would be a terrible mistake for Republicans to neglect urban interests. Like it or not, the economic heart of our country is in major metropolitan areas," Renn said.
Renn said the great economic divide is also present in cities, though playing out in different ways, such as debates around gentrification. "Fully integrating black Americans, who still have a major presence in our cities, into middle-class American economic success remains an urgent task I hope Republicans will engage with," he said.
But some urban policy experts bristle at the way Trump and the alt-right movement portrayed inner cities during the campaign.
"We are sort of concerned about how [inner cities] were portrayed during the campaign, said Michael Wallace, acting director of federal advocacy at the NLC. "We just push back against the narrative that cities are run down," Wallace said. "Cities don't need 'fixing.' ... Campaign rhetoric used a lot of stereotypical thinking about cities. We want to make sure it doesn't have an undo influence on governing of cities."
More from CNBC Metro 20:
The 20 worst places in America to start a business
The 20 best places in America to start a business
2 ideas, $200,00 and a plan to revive Rust Belt cities
City economies have driven the economic recovery. Ninety percent of U.S. GDP comes from metro regions. The 30 largest metro areas are responsible for half of national GDP.
At The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City(ICIC), the Roxbury, Massachusetts-based economic development nonprofit founded by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, officials were pleased that inner cities became part of the debate over the future of our country, "although the term may not always have been used appropriately," said Kim Zeuli, senior v.p. "The types of infrastructure investment that need to be prioritized depend on the city and inner city, but I think it is safe to say that all inner cities need some infrastructure improvements to support business growth," she said.
In contrast to stereotypes of inner cities that persist, ICIC uses a quantitative definition to identify these areas, and Zeuli noted that for close to two decades already well-known firms have been taking advantage of business opportunities in inner cities.
"There is broad agreement on infrastructure, but when we say 'fixing inner cities,' mayors are best-situated to make decisions about funding coming from the federal government," Wallace said.
The National League of Cities anticipates some fiscal pressure as a result of one party rule in Washington, D.C., but he said the Senate remains closely divided and has the filibuster option. "The writing is on the wall that there will be greater fiscal pressure. We will be making the case about local priority programs. All we can do is make the case for why funding is important," Wallace said.