Cities of Service has announced the three winners of its Engaged Cities Award: Flint, Michigan; Plymouth, England, and San Francisco, California. The Engaged Cities Award is underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies, giving the winners $75,000 each for their use of cutting-edge techniques to engage residents to solve problems.
The winning projects used citizen-sourced data to help revitalize neighborhoods, crowdsourced ideas from residents to direct community funds, and capitalized on the skills of volunteers to help increase vulnerable residents’ access to housing, legal counsel, and healthcare. Cities of Service plans to create blueprints for each solution in order to enable cities around the world to learn from, adopt, and improve upon them.
The three winning cities are:
- Flint, Michigan – faced with significant property blight caused by a large decline in population, the city created the Flint Property Portal, which allows residents to easily report information on properties. Data collected through the portal enabled the city to receive a $60 million blight elimination grant through the U.S. Treasury Hardest Hit Fund. The grant funds have been used to demolish more than 4,000 blighted structures in Flint;
- Plymouth, United Kingdom: In order to ease administrative burdens and ensure Community Infrastructure Levy funds were spent on projects that benefit residents, the city created Crowdfund Plymouth – an online platform where community members propose neighborhood improvement projects and residents show support with monetary donations; and,
- San Francisco, California: San Francisco created Civic Bridge – a program that brings together private sector volunteers and city staff to develop solutions for public problems. Volunteers contribute 20% of their time over a 16-week period. Civic Bridge has worked with 25 city departments on 49 projects, engaging about 450 city staff and citizen volunteers, and estimates that companies have provided $3.9 million in pro-bono services through the program.
For more information about the Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award, see: engagedcitiesaward.org