- Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed nonprofit Cities of Service announced today the 10 finalists for its second Engaged Cities awards.
- The 10 finalists this year are: Atlanta; Aurora, IL; Bogota, Colombia; Chicago; Flint, MI; Lakewood, CO; London; Orlando, FL; Plymouth, England; and San Francisco. The cities are recognized for tackling challenges related to the environment and sustainability, health and safety and neighborhood revitalization, among others.
- Up to three winning cities will be announced in October and share a total $200,000.
Last year’s Engaged Cities awards honored Bologna, Italy; Santiago de Cali, Colombia; and Tulsa, OK for improving city services in different ways. Bologna encouraged residents to help with public space revitalization; Santiago de Cali looked to address neighborhood violence; and Tulsa analyzed data and used it to solve problems.
That diversity continues this year, with cities honored for initiatives like transforming urban blight, designing green infrastructure and using crowdfunding for community members to propose and support new projects in their cities. The data piece is also a big emphasis for this year’s honorees, reflective of how cities are increasingly turning to empirical evidence collected through surveys and technology to help them make decisions.
The program is again supported by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who continues to flex his financial and philanthropic muscle to push urban policy in new directions. While he has continued to sound the alarm about the negative effects of climate change on cities, this award shows that there is a desire to see change in all areas of city residents’ lives.
As with last year, a major emphasis is placed on the finalists sharing best practices, which Cities of Service board member James Anderson said in a statement offers "inspiration and a road map for other cities to follow." As cities face all manner of challenges, it is important for them to work together across jurisdictional boundaries and make a better future for their residents.