Blog

New report: What American cities learned from last year’s Mayors Challenge

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.

Building city hall capacity to fight climate change: 6 takeaways from U.S. cities

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.

Advice for new mayors — from some of the best at the job

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.

All Eyes on the Heartland

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.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Innovative Mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson

Mayor of Gary, Indiana, Karen Freeman-Wilson believes resident engagement is integral to effective governance. Highlighting the important role residents play in helping Gary care for public spaces, Mayor Freeman-Wilson seeks to collaborate with the community:

“Not only tell citizens what you’re doing but make them a part of it.  We’ve seen that with our comprehensive city plan which we’re engaged in right now.  We’re allowing citizens to plan it with the guidance of the professionals… But, by the end of the process, it will be the citizens of Gary’s comprehensive plan.”

Follow the Data Podcast: The Innovative Mayor, Greg Fischer

This episode of Follow the Data presents a conversation with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and James Anderson, who leads Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Mayor Fischer is serving in his second term and says that to be a good mayor, you need the “head of a CEO, but the heart of a social worker.”

How to Win the American Cities Climate Challenge

By Antha Williams and James Anderson

Last week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $70-million Challenge aimed at helping cities across America grow their economies and protect human health by taking action to fight climate change. Mike Bloomberg will be emailing the mayors of the 100 largest U.S. cities about it — so keep an eye on your inbox, or tell your mayor to!

Here’s what it’s all about: When it comes to climate change, cities are both the problem and the solution. Globally, they’re the source of 70 percent of the emissions that are leading to climate change. But they’re also where creative solutions, combined with bold leadership from mayors, can make a real difference.

What’s Ahead for What Works Cities

Mike Bloomberg announced an additional $42 million investment in the What Works Cities program to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence to improve resident outcomes and address the most pressing local issues. The investment, part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, is one response to what the former New York City mayor says is a mounting disdain for facts, which is making it difficult to tackle some of the country’s toughest challenges.

4 strategies that are defining the future of city communications

Last week, Bloomberg Philanthropies brought 54 communications leaders from city halls in the U.S. and the U.K. to New York City to discuss these topics and more. In panel conversations, workshops, and one-on-ones, they traded tips on social media and storytelling, considered the changing media industry, and learned the latest and best practices for organizing a comms shop. Here are four strategies that emerged last week that are likely to reflect where the field of city-government communications is headed.