- Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the inaugural group of cities to achieve the What Works Cities certification, a designation which recognizes how cities incorporate data and evidence into governance.
- Los Angeles became the first city to earn a gold-level certification due to its "impressive track record" with data-driven initiatives under the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to a press statement. Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, New Orleans, Seattle, Louisville, KY and Kansas City, MO earned silver-level certification.
- Cities with populations of 30,000 or more are eligible to apply to the What Works Cities certification, with the selected cities announced annually. The 2017 certified cities were selected from a pool of 115 applications.
With its new certification, Los Angeles is setting the precedent in collecting and using data to make informed decisions when addressing city issues. As a basis, the city provides an open data portal that features 1,100 data sets, touching on everything from building permits to trash bin locations, and the city is also working on more specific initiatives through a partnership with the Data Science Federation.
Los Angeles received the gold standard because it met at least three of the four What Works Cities Standard's components: commit, measure, take stock and act. What Works Cities also touted the eight other certified cities for their data-driven initiatives, including New Orleans' efforts to tackle "blight and natural disaster response through data," and San Diego's efforts to use data in advancing road-improvement projects. Though these eight cities only met two of the components, earning them the silver certification. No cities have yet met all four components, which would result in a platinum-level certification.
What Works Cities has celebrated a month of growth as the initiative just reached a goal of partnering with 100 municipal governments. As more cities become certified and continue to advance operations with What Works Cities' guidance, it is expected that the cohort will grow — despite a competitive and rather immersive membership process.