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5 End-of-Year Questions for George Fertitta on Helping Cities Thrive

From launching the Business Climate Challenge in London to building a tree-mapping tool with the City of Chicago, the Bloomberg Associates team has accomplished a lot in 2022. To reflect on their success, what inspires their work, and how they’ll carve a path forward in 2023, we welcome George Fertitta, who leads Bloomberg Associates.

Bloomberg Associates is our philanthropic consulting arm that works at no cost with city leaders around the world to help solve complex municipal challenges and make their cities safer, stronger, and more equitable and efficient.

Bloomberg Associates and Milan designed and implemented Piazza Aperte, a series of dynamic public plazas around the city.

1. What accomplishments from 2022 are you most proud of?

There’s a lot to choose from. In 2022, Bloomberg Associates supported almost 350 projects in eight cities around the world, providing over 42,000 hours of pro bono consulting service across nine focus areas. We’re probably proudest of the close partnerships we have forged with our city counterparts and our work together to solve some of the toughest municipal challenges

2. Who or what inspired or influenced your work this past year? 

The importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across our work cannot be understated. At Bloomberg Associates, we have focused on ensuring that we and our city partners prioritize equity in policies, initiatives, and programming. This includes advising on tree planting programs for underserved neighborhoods, creating transit plans that will guarantee access and safety for all, and helping one of our cities to codify their Office of Equity and Racial Justice so it is secured for the future.

And as always, we’re inspired by the work we accomplish together with our colleagues across Bloomberg Philanthropies. This year, our close collaboration has led to the expansion of some transformative projects including helping cities design safer and more innovative cycling infrastructure, using art and engaging communities to revitalize public space in the Asphalt Art Initiative, and supporting cities as they navigate the federal funding process post-pandemic – just to name a few.

3. What are you looking forward to in 2023?

As with every year at Bloomberg Associates, we have so much to look forward to in 2023. We have expanded our partner cities to include Tampa and Phoenix, two of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. In addition, we have recently engaged with Westminster as an extension of our work with our partners in the City of London and the Greater London Authority. Finally, we are launching a new sub-practice for Cybersecurity and Technology to help our cities understand their vulnerabilities and implement strategies to limit potential threats.

4. What are some trends or challenges you believe we’ll see in the year ahead?

During the pandemic, many people left city centers. As we return to “normal,” many of these individuals are returning to their offices but taking advantage of a new hybrid work model. The small businesses that historically supported offices that were 100 percent occupied are now suffering, as fewer people are commuting daily into the city centers and spending dollars. We’ve also noticed that after facing the global pandemic for two years, there is some fatigue amongst city staff. Our goal is to give them a renewed sense of purpose and energy to continue to deliver positive results for their residents.

5. What is a piece of media or culture you experienced this past year that you would recommend our readers check out in 2023?

While recently on a visit to Mexico City, one of our first Bloomberg Associates client cities, my wife and I stepped into El Museo Memoria y Tolerancia (The Museum of Memory and Tolerance) to explore their exhibitions. If you are planning a visit to Mexico, make sure this is on your list of places to go. I also suggest going online to browse their website for interactive content and I’m looking forward to it being featured on our Bloomberg Connects app in early 2023.