The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities certification program recently awarded new certifications to 10 US cities in recognition of their exceptional use of data to inform policy and funding decisions to improve residents’ lives. This brings the total number of cities certified for outstanding data practices to a total of 50 since 2017.
“The most effective mayors use data to define problems and craft bold new solutions, and this milestone of 50 certified cities highlights the critical progress local governments are leading across the country,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “By building a culture of data-driven decision-making, these cities will be more resilient and better equipped to fight climate change, protect public health, increase economic mobility, and much more.”
The 10 cities, and some examples of their projects, include:
- Baltimore, MD – the City’s public data portal, Open Baltimore, has been lauded for bringing transparency, accountability, and access to residents;
- Buffalo, NY – used open data to identify properties in urgent need of lead remediation, and secured $2.3M in federal funds to address the issue;
- Chicago, IL – for results-driven contracting and performance management at the Department of Family and Support Services;
- Denver, CO – Denver’s Public Health & Environment’s Love My Air program provides real-time data to monitor air quality in Denver schools;
- Durham, NC – used data to remove barriers to employment for 46,000 individuals by suspending fines and fees, and restoring residents’ driver’s licenses;
- Evanston, IL – launched an Evanston Police Department Transparency Hub to increase community trust and transparency in policing;
- Long Beach, CA – used data to identify more than 1,250 COVID-impacted local businesses, who then received more than $700,000 in grants;
- Miami, FL – provided a resident-powered app to help map the highest-risk areas for flooding to help protect neighbourhoods and save lives;
- Rochester, NY – used data based on an examination of student addresses to identify meal distribution sites during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring each site was within a reasonable walking distance of the majority of student homes; and,
- Salinas, CA – has a program that tracks and responds to 24 data points to help inform youth and gang violence prevention strategies, resulting in a 60% decline in youth violence.
“Cities that are investing in building their data skills and capacity are seeing the results,” added Jennifer Park, founding director of What Works Cities Certification. “As the movement grows, we will see even more cities delivering better results through faster 911 response times, increased small business support, reduced waste and emissions, and greater civic engagement with residents.”