The new investments will further open the programme to every US city with more than 30,000 residents. It will provide data training to civil servants, continue to reform the way cities purchase goods and procure services, and provide entrepreneurs, artists, and concerned citizens access to public data that can be used to solve local problems.
“Over the next three years, we will use the additional investment to continue working with our partners to improve the use of data and evidence in cities through training, technical assistance, mayoral coaching, and more,” James Anderson, Head of Government Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, told Cities Today. “Additional programmes will be rolled out in the coming months that will bring a data-oriented approach to more cities as they tackle some of the most urgent issues faced by local government today.”
Anderson added that thanks to initiatives like this, there has been a positive shift in the conversation around the role of data in city governance, creating an expectation that cities be smart on data.
“A recent survey revealed that American mayors increasingly feel on the hook for issues that were once the purview of the federal government–from infrastructure to public health–and are stepping up to find creative and evidence-based ways to confront these issues.”
His comments echoed those of Bloomberg in a letter as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ annual report. Bloomberg said Washington’s “direct assault on facts and data is making it harder for America to address major challenges here and around the world,” including areas in which Bloomberg Philanthropies–whose work is driven by data–is working to improve and save lives.
However, a “counter-assault” is underway, Bloomberg wrote: “As Washington has grown more dysfunctional, American cities have grown more dynamic. Mayors in both parties are leading where Washington won’t,” using data, and working with members of other political parties, to improve government performance for their citizens.