After a “surge” in applications for the What Works Cities initiative, on August 5th, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the first eight medium-sized cities selected to benefit from their support in improving urban data management. The programme’s 42 million dollar budget attracted bids from 112 US cities.
Chattanooga (Tennessee), Jackson (Mississippi), Kansas City (Missouri), Louisville (Kentucky), Mesa (Arizona), Nova Orleans (Louisiana), Seattle (Washington) and Tulsa (Oklahoma) were the cities chosen. They are at different stages of using data in public management, with Jackson and Mesa implementing open data programmes for the first time, while the six remaining cities will be focusing their efforts on strengthening existing practices.
In New Orleans, for instance, smart data application has reduced the number of derelict houses by ten thousand, through the “Blightstat” scheme, the Bloomberg Philanthropies press release noted.
Applications for What Works Cities opened in April, but this isn’t a one-off opportunity for medium-sized American cities. By 2017, the entity wants the programme to cover 100 cities, in a phased process.
The goal of the initiative is to equip the selected urban areas with better data usage practices, identifying areas with potential to grow. This way, the cities will have access to tailored strategies in response to the region’s specific challenges in public health, job creation or economic development.