Cities submit innovative ideas to address major urban challenges
Responses to the second edition of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge have exceeded the inaugural US edition, with 26% of eligible European cities applying compared to 24% in the US. The competition is open to cities with over 100,000 inhabitants and rewards the most innovative solutions to pressing urban challenges, from addressing serious problems such as unemployment to improving government efficiency or better engaging with citizens. A total of €9 million in prize money is available: the grand prize winning city receives €5 million to help realise its idea, while a further four winners will get €1 million each.
The 155 applicant cities come from 28 countries and represent more than 71 million European citizens. Of the 155, nearly half are EUROCITIES members. Participating cities are spread across the continent, with 35% in southern Europe, 25% in western Europe, 19% in eastern Europe, 15% in the British Isles and 6% in northern Europe. They range in population size from 100,000 to over 500,000, with the majority (49%) between 100,000 and 250,000. Among the applicants are 19 capital cities, all EUROCITIES members.
The bulk of the applicants have generated ideas to address major social or economic challenges, including energy efficiency, obesity and ageing, while the remaining 30% focus on improving the overall effectiveness and efficiency of local government.
Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, said: “these dynamic city leaders are working to find new ways to tackle some of our most pressing and common urban challenges – from youth unemployment to obesity to civic participation”.
An independent panel comprising experts in innovation and urban policy is currently helping Bloomberg Philanthropies select the 20 finalists, to be announced in the spring. These will be invited to attend the Bloomberg Ideas Camp in Brussels on 29-30 April 2014 to refine and strengthen their ideas together with top policy, programme and innovation experts. They will then submit a final application by mid-summer, with the five winners to be announced in the autumn.
For more information, and a detailed breakdown of the applications, please refer to the Bloomberg Philanthropies press release here.