Blog

Follow the Data Podcast: An American Problem with an American Solution

At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are dedicated to “following the data” — and the data on gun violence could not be more compelling or urgent. Americans are 25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries. Every day, 96 Americans are killed by gun violence. And every year, approximately three million American children bear witness to gun violence.

Instagram and the Arts – An Invitation to Explore

By Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries

Thanks to our beautiful location in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine is never busier than during the summer months. If you’re not in London right now, you need only check social media, where visitors to our two galleries have been sharing images of their encounters with art and architecture in the heart – and heat – of the city.

Follow the Data Podcast: Why are small-scale fisheries such a big deal?

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. One of our partners, Rare, specializes in local fishing reforms, targeting some of the 12 million small-scale fishers that operate 15km from shore.

The STOP Winners: Shining a Spotlight on Big Tobacco

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team

Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century. It’s the most preventable cause of death in the world. But saving lives means more than just quitting smoking. It means pushing back against a powerful, wide-reaching global industry that spends tens of billions of dollars every single year to recruit tobacco users through aggressive marketing campaigns.

How cities are taking a more strategic view toward public art

Public art can be a tool mayors use to build strong communities.

That’s the premise behind the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, an initiative designed to support cities undertaking temporary art projects that address pressing civic issues. Last month, 14 U.S. cities learned that they’re finalists in the Challenge, with a chance at receiving up to $1 million to carry out their ideas. Information on all of the finalists is here.

Follow the Data Podcast: Cornell Tech – Engineering the Future of New York City

Cornell Tech is the first campus ever built for the digital age, bringing together academia and industry to create pioneering leaders and transformational new research, products, companies, and social ventures.

Public Art Pieces to See This Summer

By The Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Team  

With some of the world’s most well-known museums and galleries, it’s no secret that cities like New York and London are great places to see art. This summer there are also a number of engaging art pieces sparking dialogue and inspiring wonder right on the city streets, or in some cases, on rivers and lakes.

Spreading Solutions: Lessons from the Global Road Safety Leadership Course

By Becky Bavinger, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team

The Global Road Safety Leadership Course – a two-week course organized by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Global Road Safety Partnership – has trained over 300 people from 50 countries since 2016. Held twice each year – once in Baltimore and the other at a rotating location so far including Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and Nairobi, Kenya – the course is part of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety which focuses on spreading effective road safety solutions and building capacity of municipalities to implement road safety interventions, and supports national governments in strengthening legislation.

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.”

Global Health Checkup: Celebrating Progress in Vietnam to Reduce Tobacco Use, Seeking Opportunities to Go Further

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies

An astounding 45 percent of adult males in Vietnam use tobacco, compared to only 1 percent of women. These high smoking rates among men in Vietnam are at the core of the country’s health problems with more than 40,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.

The challenges in Vietnam are difficult, but surmountable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ deep collaboration with the government and local organizations demonstrates that together we can make real strides toward reducing tobacco use in this country of nearly 100 million people.

Breaking Ground on Safer Roads in Accra, Ghana

By Mayor Adjei Sowah, Accra, Ghana

Last week, my colleagues and I broke ground at the Lapaz intersection. It is the first step in making Accra’s roads safer for all our citizens.

The Lapaz intersection is the most dangerous intersection in the city, poorly designed with limited speed restrictions and no safe passage for pedestrians. In 2015, 25 of the 253 traffic-related fatalities were around the N1 highway, along which the Lapaz intersection sits.

It is cities like Accra, in low- and middle-income countries, that bear the greatest burden of road traffic crashes. The majority of the world’s countries lack adequate laws to counter growing numbers of traffic deaths and injuries. As a result, 90 percent of the 1.3 million deaths on the road every year occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Follow the Data Podcast: Why Data is So Vital to Public Health

This week, we revisit an episode featuring a conversation with Dr. Tom Frieden, one of the world’s leading public health experts, and President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, and Allison Jaffin of Bloomberg Philanthropies as they discuss noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and what it takes to protect the world.

Power of Partnerships Q&A with the C40 Climate Leadership Group

The C40 Climate Leadership Group has been helping cities achieve climate goals for over a decade, and their climate planning tools are now public and available to all.

Mayors Meeting the Challenge: A Visit to Philly

By Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies

One year ago, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the American Cities Initiative, our umbrella initiative that includes all of our work in U.S. cities. Since then, we’ve made several major investments aimed at helping cities tackle their most pressing issues. We’ve doubled down on helping cities build their capacity to use data and evidence to save money, be more efficient and ultimately improve quality of life for citizens (who doesn’t like their potholes filled more quickly?). We’ve expanded a program that provides training to small and mid-sized cultural organizations in more than a dozen cities to help them think more like small businesses. And, most recently, we launched a $70-million competition to help 20 cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of our larger effort to ensure the U.S. meets its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, despite backpedaling in Washington.

Power of Partnerships Q&A with the Institute for Market Transformation

IMT’s Julie Hughes says, “Cities are not only being bold and visionary in their commitments; they’re being strategic and pragmatic, developing and implementing plans in a data-informed method. It’s essential. We can’t afford to take steps that we think will achieve our climate goals. We need confidence in our approaches; we need to deliberately choose actions based on strong data.”

Power of Partnerships Q&A with the Natural Resources Defense Council

A partner in the American Cities Climate Challenge, the NRDC’s Kimi Narita shares her thoughts on why cities should apply to the American Cities Climate Challenge.

Follow the Data Podcast: Equal Footing

“A woman is economically empowered when she has both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions.”

Using the guiding definition of women’s economic development from the International Center for Research on Women, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the King Baudouin Foundation partnered with Foundation Center to create Equal Footing, a freely accessible web portal for information-sharing and collaboration among those who invest and work in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Burundi.

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.”

World Oceans Day 2018: Lessons Learned in the Fight to Save A Critical Resource

By Antha Williams, Head of Environment Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Today is World Oceans Day – a time to raise awareness and encourage action to protect our critical global resources. At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we work to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people, and that mission is the bedrock of our oceans program.

Fish is the main source of animal protein – healthier and more affordable than beef, chicken, or pork – for more than one billion people around the world. Unfortunately this vital food source is threatened by overfishing and destructive fishing practices. While the supply of fish is decreasing, demand continually increases—with the world’s population expected to grow by two billion people within the next two decades. Without proper management of our oceans, we will continue to destroy coral reefs and marine ecosystems, and jeopardize a critical global food source.

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.

Follow the Data Podcast: Maintaining America’s Pledge – one year later

As the days grow warmer, the anniversary of the Trump Administration’s declaration of intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement draws closer.

In the days after this announcement last year, Mike Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown launched America’s Pledge, an initiative to aggregate and quantify emissions reduction efforts of states, cities, businesses, and universities in the U.S. One year after the federal government announced it would pull out of the Paris Agreement, 2,700+ U.S. cities, states, and businesses are saying, “We Are Still In.” Together, these non-federal actors have rallied their commitments in order to ensure the U.S. meets its Paris Agreement climate goals – with or without Washington.

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.

During “Yellow May,” Pedestrians Get the Royal Treatment

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team lead

On Monday, May 7, the coastal city of Fortaleza, Brazil rolled out a red carpet in front of City Hall. The guests of honor? Not celebrities or dignitaries — though some wore crowns — but pedestrians. Everyday people who are among the 2.5 million that call this city home.

The event was part of Fortaleza’s participation in the annual “Yellow May” festival. Supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), Fortaleza is joining cities across Brazil — and around the world — to draw attention to road safety and introduce new initiatives to make streets safer and more accessible for vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

Follow the Data Podcast – New faces in old places: revitalizing Athens’ historic center

The heart of Athens historic center is experiencing a revival. The 27-acre district is bounded by three of Athens’ most historic squares: Syntagma, Ommonia, and Monistraki. The Commercial Triangle, locally referred to as “Trigono,” is a working district, with commercial activity dating back to the 19th century.

Despite its historic and geographic significance, the neighborhood fell into disrepair in the 1980s. As a result, many buildings were vacated. By 2016, 17% of ground floor and 45% of upper floor spaces were vacant, while a survey of shopkeepers in the area found that 50-70% believed graffiti, lack of cleanliness, and illegal parking were serious issues. While there were pockets of economic activity, the neighborhood was not pedestrian-friendly and it was struggling to attract new investment.

Taking Care of Moms on Mother’s Day & Every Day

By Dr. Neena Prasad, Director of Maternal and Reproductive Health Program, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Around the world, approximately 830 women die daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Developing countries have an overall maternal mortality ratio of 239 deaths per 100,000 live births, while in developed countries that ratio is 12 deaths per 100,000 live births. Ninety-nine percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

These sobering statistics underscore the healthcare disparities between high- and low-income countries, especially when it comes to women’s health—and the dire need to address them.

Collecting Data – a Matter of Life and Death

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team

Nearly 30 million deaths go unregistered without a cause of death each year. Put another way, more than half of deaths globally aren’t recorded with any usable information. And, nearly 40 percent of the 128 million babies born each year are not officially registered. Without this crucial data, a government cannot create policies that lower risk for disease and positively influence the health and wellness of its citizens. This lack of data can result in errant or misinformed health policy that harms the economy, education, democracy, and other vital attributes of a robust society.

Follow the Data Podcast: Gone Fishing

The United Nations International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2018 the International Year of the Reef. Coral reefs are home to one in every four fish in the ocean, and are a critical backbone of ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, climate change and destructive fishing practices threatens to destroy 90 percent of reefs in the next three decades.

As the demand for fish continues to grow, overfishing and damaging fishing practices, like bottom-trawling and illegal fishing, are destroying coral reefs and endangering the primary protein source for a billion people and thousands more who rely on fishing for income. At Bloomberg Philanthropies, our Vibrant Oceans Initiative is working to replenish fish populations and create a more sustainable environment.

Global Health Checkup: Seven Steps to Tackle NCDs in Brazil

by Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team lead

Brazil, a country known for its spectacular coastline, football prowess, and vibrant culture, has also become known in the public health community for its progressive action to prevent noncommunicable diseases.

On the first stop of my “Global Health Checkup,” I was not only wowed by Rio’s sprawling beaches and Brasilia’s magnificent architecture but also by the incredible work public health leaders are doing to help their citizens lead healthier lives.

Fighting Secondhand Smoke in Bengaluru, India

By Dr. Vishal Rao, Chief of Head Neck Surgical Oncology at Healthcare Global Enterprise Cancer Hospital in Bengaluru, India

Bengaluru is a city on the rise. In India’s southern Karnataka state, the city has become the tech hub of the global south, with a burgeoning start-up community and an Asian base for the world’s largest technology companies. But a smoke-filled cloud hangs over Bengaluru’s success. A national law prohibiting smoking in public places has not led to smoke free spaces, and many individuals are unaware of the harms of exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces and homes.

Bengaluru is fighting to change the status quo. As part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities – supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Vital Strategies and the World Health Organization –Bengaluru has committed to becoming a smoke-free city.

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.