By Antha N. Williams , Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment team
New York City has sparked debate across the country over its decision to use congestion pricing to accelerate and help fund the adoption of low-carbon transportation. Now, several other cities in the U.S., including DC, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, are starting to explore the potential for this bold action to advance their own climate and livability efforts.
Last week, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge brought together more than 100 of the country’s foremost city sustainability leaders for a three-day convening in Austin. Participants represented a robust network of world-class partners, dedicated city officials, and leading policy experts who all share one common goal: fight climate change on a local level to create healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable communities for city residents.
Local cultural institutions are critical for the arts to thrive. These organizations help develop and showcase artistic talent, provide communities with a forum to experience the arts and also contribute to a city’s economy and identity. That is why Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported more than 500 small and medium-sized organizations through our Arts Innovation and Management Program (AIM). In this interview, Ethan Joseph of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts team talks with Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and former participant of the AIM program, about what the theatre has meant to the Dallas community. The following is a lightly edited excerpt of the conversation.
In part two of a two part episode, Hannibal Johnson and Rick Lowe, discuss the future of Tulsa, Oklahoma in historical context, along with the potential impact of the Greenwood Art Project.
Tulsa is the winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge. The Greenwood Art Project commemorates the 100th anniversary of the destruction of a thriving black community in Tulsa known as Black Wall Street. The project celebrates the resilience and recovery of the community.
Del Carmen Mayor Coro II is a coastal mayor whose life and constituency are anchored to the sea and Rocky Sanchez Tirona spearheads Rare’s initiative to revitalize the Philippines’ marine life and the dependent coastal communities. Can their common agenda inspire all 900+ of the Philippines’ coastal mayors to commit to protecting the people and their precious resources—before it’s too late?
Together with key partners – TERI, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, CSTEP, WRI India, and ADRI – Bloomberg Philanthropies will work to support India’s National Clean Air Program by developing better data and understanding of the sources of air pollution in the country. We’ll also work closely with a group of Indian cities to develop clean air action plans aimed at tackling air pollution at the local level.
In June 2015, the City of Spartanburg was selected as one of four projects nationwide to take part in Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. Jennifer Evins, working with key partners including digital media artist Erwin Redl, city police officers and the city’s residents brought their winning project, “Seeing Spartanburg” to life. In the wake of shootings and protests across the country, community-building between police officers and the municipalities they serve become a focal point in the nation. Through “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light,” Spartanburg police officers hoped to harness the power of public art to repair and strengthen police-community relations in the city. They also hoped to shine a light on Spartanburg’s commitment to safety and vibrancy, enhance crime prevention efforts and cultivate partnerships to increase public trust and confidence in local law enforcement.
Through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, the City of Jackson Mississippi aims to address complex food access issues in the city. Their project “Fertile Ground: Inspiring Dialogue About Food Access,” will enlist an interdisciplinary team of local and national artists, landscape architects, filmmakers, farmers, chefs, nutritionists, and community members. The project teams will come together to create a city-wide exhibition with installations, performances and programming. Workshops and panels will address challenges stemming from a proliferation of fast food restaurants in the area and the need for healthy food opportunities for the community.
By Dr. Neena Prasad of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team
Tanzania’s Kigoma region is about the size of the average American state. In 2006, when we launched our Maternal and Reproductive Health Program, it was home to 2 million people—that’s about the number of people in Nebraska. But not a single one of those people was an obstetrician. And that’s important to note because, around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are unacceptably high.
In Part One of a two part episode, we hear from Hannibal Johnson and Rick Lowe, detailing work in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the most recent winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge.
Hannibal Johnson is an author, attorney, professor and consultant. He is an expert of the African-American experience in Oklahoma and its broader historic impact on American history.
Rick Lowe is an artist, best known for Project Row Houses, which he started in Houston in 1993. He has worked with communities and exhibited all over the world.
By Dr. Kelly Henning of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team
I was fortunate to meet in Dubai with our partners from across the globe working to combat the tobacco epidemic in Pakistan — a country where more than 160,000 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases.
Today in Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is convening mayors, business leaders, and others to bring attention to a troubling problem: While women globally are more impacted by climate change than men, they’re underrepresented at decision-making levels in government. The good news is, that’s changing. The Women4Climate gathering in Paris is part of a C40 Cities effort to empower and inspire a new generation of women leaders taking on this issue around the world. A report released this month outlines strategies for boosting women’s leadership in climate action and identifies data gaps that need to be filled to better understand the gender dimensions of climate change in cities. Meanwhile, in the U.S., some of the boldest leadership on climate is coming from women mayors. Here are five who recently won the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge because of their efforts to reduce climate pollution from the transportation and buildings sectors.
Inspired by our most recent film, Paris to Pittsburgh, National Geographic launched a new Your Shot photo assignment, calling for citizen photographers to document local climate leadership in their communities for the chance to be featured online on National Geographic’s digital platform.
This episode of the podcast features a conversation with Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic Photographer and Your Shot Editor and Katherine Oliver, of Bloomberg Philanthropies and executive producer of Paris to Pittsburgh.
By Anita Contini, Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts team
Through “The Greenwood Art Project,” MacArthur Fellow Rick Lowe will work alongside local artists to bring the story of the Black Wall Street to light. In creating a series of art installations located at significant sites throughout the historic district, Lowe and his team hope to tell a story of vulnerability and resilience.
We sat down with Lowe during Black History month to discuss the racial and economic disparities that still exist in the area today, the power art can have to bring communities together, and the importance of reconciliation.
By Christine Hunschofsky, Mayor of Parkland, Florida
Last year, an unimaginable tragedy struck our community when a shooter entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people, severely wounding many and tormenting over 3,000 students and faculty. Following the initial shock and pain, city leaders were faced with a formidable question: what can we do to support the healing process of an entire community? Beyond Parkland, officials in neighboring Coral Springs and throughout Northwest Broward were facing the same question.
As members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI) convene this week, we are re-running an episode featuring a conversation between Dan Porterfield, ATI Steering Committee member, and Howard Wolfson, head of the education program here at Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the time this episode was recorded, Dan Porterfield was the president of Franklin & Marshall College; he is now the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.
By James Anderson, head of the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies
American cities are in a unique and powerful position to uncover innovative, scalable, and impactful solutions to today’s biggest concerns—including everything from homelessness and opioid addiction to climate change and mobility. And that’s why, after successful runs in the United States, Europe, and Latin America & the Caribbean, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge returned to the U.S. last year: to empower the kind of optimistic and entrepreneurial problem-solving city leaders are ready to deliver.
Follow the Data Podcast: Insights from the Digital Republic: A Conversation with the President of Estonia
Estonia is a leader in the field of digital government. In a conversation between Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation lead James Anderson and President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, the president describes her country’s dedication to providing streamlined services, protecting citizen’s privacy, and taking proactive steps to get people the information they need.
This year, we’ve been able to get an inside look at an important question: How ready are American cities to fight climate change? The answer is important to the future of our planet. Globally, cities are the source of 70 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly via the cars urban dwellers drive and the energy required to heat and cool their buildings. U.S. cities are responsible for a disproportionate share of the total.
Our inside look came through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. It’s a $70 million effort aimed at accelerating work already happening on the ground in U.S. cities to reduce carbon pollution. More than 50 cities applied, and as co-leaders of the initiative, we visited almost 40 of them.
Hundreds of new mayors across the United States and around the world are settling into their new role as “city CEO.” It’s one of the toughest jobs in public service, and — as most people who hold the job will quickly point out — one of the most rewarding. That’s because mayors are uniquely situated to not only know many of their constituents by name, but also, by providing better services, to directly impact their lives.
The Follow the Data podcast features conversations with Bloomberg Philanthropies program leads and our partners – experts in the field, doing the work to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Each episode features a data point, illustrating the work of partners across Bloomberg Philanthropies five program areas: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – Climate Mayors, 20 Leading Cities, and New Partnerships Lead America’s Electric Transportation Future
This past month the United States sold its one-millionth electric car (more than 4 million have been sold globally). The event marks a significant milestone and demonstrates that mobility in the U.S. is on the threshold of a major technological transition to an electric mobility future. This monumental transportation transition is coupled with unprecedented levels of subnational engagement on climate change. Leadership on climate change and clean transportation is increasingly coming from states and cities who have come forward to uphold the Paris Climate Accord in the face of federal resistance.
Many low- and middle-income countries have little or no regulatory standards for vehicles.
For example, in the United States all cars must have seat-belts and airbags, which together reduce the risk of death by 61%. But in many countries where we work, car manufacturers are not required to install seat-belts or airbags, leaving the passengers at higher risk for death and injury.
That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – How Cities are Taking Charge in the Next Wave of Clean Energy Procurement
By Alexandra Rotatori, Rocky Mountain Institute and Celina Bonugli, World Resources Institute
Cities in the United States are uniquely positioned to spur growth in demand for renewable energy procurement, accelerate the transition to a clean energy system, and provide visible and practical examples for the country as whole. By demonstrating to states, regions, and the federal government that it is possible to take practical, actionable steps to decarbonize electricity use, city leaders have the potential to inspire impact far beyond their limited jurisdictions. (Case in point: the Washington, D.C., City Council just unanimously voted “yes” to require 100 percent of the district’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2032—against a background of political gridlock at the federal level.)
Fulfilling America’s Pledge on Climate Change Means Turning Data-Driven Research into Real World Action
By Carla Frisch, Principal at Rocky Mountain Institute
In the United States, as in every country around the world, opportunities for climate leadership exist at every level of governance. So despite what the headlines may say about current inaction on climate change at the federal level, businesses, cities, and states are laying the groundwork for America’s low carbon future. The thousands of day-to-day investment decisions made by businesses, local solutions implemented by mayors and city councils, and win-win energy and environmental policies set by state governors and legislatures are adding up.
Launched in July 2017 in response to President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate, the America’s Pledge initiative has developed a comprehensive model for transformation across all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, including electricity, buildings, transportation, industrial gases, and natural lands.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. At last month’s 5th Annual Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg announced the expansion of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, dedicating $86 million to support coastal communities across 10 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru and the US. The announcement marks the second phase of the initiative, expanding efforts into new countries.
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies
Earlier this summer, I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the middle of a drenching monsoon. In this part of the world, monsoons are common and fortunately don’t deter our partners at various government ministries and nonprofits from carrying on their life-saving work. I found the same to be true 1,734 miles (2,784km) away in Manila, Philippines, where two days later, I connected with government and NGO partners from our Road Safety, Tobacco Control, and Data for Health Initiatives.
Though vastly different in many ways, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines face similar obstacles in both controlling tobacco and making roads safer, so that their citizens can live longer, healthier lives. And there’s a lot we can learn from these countries as they make progress on these critical public health issues.
Without action, road traffic crashes will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015 we began implementing evidence-based interventions in our global network of ten cities, strengthening road safety legislation in five targeted countries, and crash testing new vehicles in four world regions. One of the cities included in the initiative is Fortaleza, Brazil.
Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team spoke to two partners about their efforts in Fortaleza and in other cities. Luis Sabóia is the Executive Secretary for the Department of Public Services in Fortaleza – where road traffic deaths dropped 32 percent from 2014 to 2017.
By Global Cities, Inc., a Program of Bloomberg Philanthropies
Global Scholars teachers and school administrators from Madrid welcomed their counterparts from Taipei on Wednesday for a celebration of international collaboration. Through Global Scholars, our pioneering digital exchange program, we emphasize professional development and a supportive global network for teachers as well as students. It includes a robust teachers’ community online as part of our mission to provide middle school students with opportunities for international conversations about important global issues in e-classrooms. This live visit allowed that collaboration to deepen.
By James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation program lead
Whether it’s drone-based pizza delivery in San Francisco or cutting-edge cancer advancements in Boston, innovation-related news often focuses on what’s happening in our country’s biggest cities — places with lots of investment, the most people, and an undeniable abundance of bright ideas. I get it, many of these projects are worthy of the headlines. And, speaking of drones, this father of toddler twins can’t wait for the day when clean diapers can be dropped from the sky.