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Find the latest news, resources, and updates from Bloomberg Cities at BloombergCities.org


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Over the past 10 months, Burlington, Vt., Mayor Miro Weinberger has repeated a motto that’s guided his city hall throughout the COVID-19 crisis: “In a global pandemic, local actions matter.” And his words have proven to be much more than lip service: Whether it was investing in local mask manufacturing or doubling down on local testing capacity, Burlington’s efforts have helped the city hold the line against the virus and maintain one of the lowest overall infection rates in the country.

Now, Weinberger hopes his city of 43,000 can carry that momentum over to the effort to get residents vaccinated…


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Thanks to the race for COVID-19 vaccines, the results of “randomized control trials” are now dinner-table conversation around the world — even for people who aren’t scientists or data geeks.

But the term has also been popping up more and more in city halls recently, and for a very different reason: Randomized control trials are increasingly seen as a critical innovation tool, one that can help city leaders experiment safely and build programs based on evidence that they work.

In our latest explainer, Bloomberg Cities breaks down the basics of what randomized control trials are all about in the local…


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By James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation program lead

The past year has been like no other, placing mayors at the frontline of compounding crises the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Yet, as the surging pandemic, a plummeting economy, and cries for social justice tested them — and their residents — again and again and again, city leaders did much more than stand vigil. They fought back in ways we never could have imagined just 10 months ago.

Mayors responded by innovating like their residents’ lives and livelihoods depended on it — because, of course, they did. In…


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The Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge will be back for a fifth run beginning next month — and this round will be bigger and bolder than ever before. The Mayors Challenge is an ideas competition for cities to create the biggest and boldest solutions to their toughest problems. Winning cities receive $1 million to put their breakthrough idea into action, as well as expert coaching to support implementation.

As we look forward to next month’s launch of the newest Mayors Challenge, we look back on the winners of the previous Mayors Challenges and dig further into some of the most impactful…


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For local government leaders, 2020 has been the leadership challenge of a lifetime — a powerful and sobering journey through a global pandemic, economic collapse, and a nearly constant churn of crisis.

While most are happy to see this difficult year come to a close, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, for city leaders looking to boost innovation, collaboration, and racial equity, there were positive developments that they can look forward to building on in 2021. As Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City told city leaders in September, “You’re doing a great…


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Name: Ivari Rannama

Title: Director of geomatics, Urban Planning Department

City: Tallinn, Estonia

When it comes to urban planning, residents of Estonia’s capital face one of the same challenges as city dwellers do everywhere: It’s sometimes hard to provide feedback — on new buildings or neighborhood changes — in a way that you know you’re being heard.

Ivari Rannama is experimenting with ways to change that. He and a team from Tallinn’s Urban Planning and IT departments are participating in a Bloomberg Philanthropies program that’s training European city leaders in digital innovation methods. The team started out by learning more…


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By Cristina Cacciato, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation Team

Earlier this month, Governor Enrique Alfaro of the Mexican State of Jalisco (pictured above) announced that a groundbreaking program that is reducing corruption in the city of Guadalajara will expand to at least a dozen more cities across the state. The endeavor, launched with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, represents not only a critical step for good governance in Mexico but also an evolution in the foundation’s thinking about how best to spread solutions to big urban challenges from one city to another.

The successful program — a winner in the 2016 Mayors…


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When Amy Asselbaye took charge of Honolulu’s new Office of Economic Revitalization in July, she had no time to lose. COVID-19 cases in Hawaii were surging, small businesses were suffering, and she needed to make progress quickly on both fronts.

Then she read a Bloomberg Cities article on a program aimed at helping businesses reopen safely in Durham, N.C. That program, called “Let’s Get Back on the Bull,” used tools from behavioral science — like a safety checklist and rewards — to encourage local businesses to comply with COVID protocols. Asselbaye liked the sound of Durham’s carrots-not-sticks approach to engaging…


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Name: Elena Bolbolian

Title: Director of Innovation, Performance and Audit

City: Glendale, Calif.

Elena Bolbolian’s first job with the city of Glendale came in middle school, when she worked clearing brush as part of a youth employment program. She’s more or less stayed with the city for all 23 years since then, first supervising youth workers, then moving into a variety of analyst and management roles, and, three years ago, becoming the city’s first chief innovation officer.

One of Bolbolian’s main goals is to spread an innovation mindset across City Hall. So she was thrilled that Glendale could join a…

Bloomberg Cities

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

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