First 8 Cities Announced for Bloomberg’s $42 Million Data Initiative

“What Works Cities” aims to help mayors and planners in mid-sized American cities use data to improve residents’ lives.

Jackson, Mississippi, is one of the first eight cities chosen for What Works Cities. (Photo by Natalie Maynor)

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Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today the first eight cities chosen for What Works Cities, the organization’s new $42 million initiative to help mayors and planners make the most of big data.

As I reported back in April, the goal is eventually to help 100 mid-sized U.S. cities (populations between 100,000 and one million) by boosting open gov in municipalities around the country, writing best practices guidelines and streamlining the use of data as it applies to effective policymaking.

The first eight cities are Chattanooga, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans; Seattle; and Tulsa. Each will receive local support and education in capitalizing on data to improve resident’s lives. What Works Cities will first review each city’s current use of open data and then design a customized approach mayors can use to address issues such as economic development, public health, job creation and blight.

What Works Cities isn’t Bloomberg Philanthropies’ only data-driven initiative aimed at improving municipal life. Back in June, the organization announced that it would help India Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his mission to turn 100 cities into “smart cities” by 2022. And last year, it announced it would continue working with cities to support the creation of “innovation delivery teams” that use data-driven, results-oriented approaches to solve vexing urban problems.

Bloomberg Philanthropies isn’t alone in this sphere. In June, Google launched its own new urban solutions company, Sidewalk Labs, to develop technology solutions for city challenges.

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Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: big datacity hallopen govbloomberg philanthropies

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