Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge Rewarding Municipal Innovation

Blog, Commentary, Local Government, Steve Lafleur

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the twenty finalists for its Mayor’s Challenge, which rewards five US municipalities for innovative approaches to fixing urban problems. The Huffington Post has a feature on the competition, featuring an article written by the mayors of the nominated cities and a video for each of the nominated initiatives.

The initiatives range from reducing infant mortality to more efficient waste disposal. The two that caught my eye are Chicago‘s attempt to make better use of publicly collected data to improve municipal services, and Saint Paul‘s initiative to simplify the municipal permitting process (this is one that every city should give serious consideration to replicating immediately). Last year, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was selected as one of the winners for a pilot project that involved managed competition, an approach Frontier has long championed.

I encourage you to watch the videos. You may not agree with all of them, but it is great to see cities trying to solve persistent problems with unconventional approaches. Having thousands of municipalities experimenting with different policy options increases the odds that we’ll find viable solutions to urban challenges. Bloomberg Philanthropies deserves credit for recognizing the value of municipal competition.