The What Works Cities programme has awarded certifications to 10 additional US cities in recognition of their exceptional use of data to inform policy and funding decisions to improve residents’ lives.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ certification programme, launched in April 2017, assesses US cities on their data-driven decision-making practices, such as whether they are using data to set goals and track progress, allocate funding, evaluate the effectiveness of programmes, and achieve desired outcomes from contracts with outside vendors.
Standard of excellence
The 10 cities that achieved the national standard of excellence were Baltimore, Maryland; Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Durham, North Carolina; Evanston, Illinois; Long Beach, California; Miami, Florida; Rochester, New York; and Salinas, California.
According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, their data-informed strategies have enabled these newly certified cities to increase resident satisfaction, create employment opportunities for residents, help local businesses thrive, decrease youth and gang violence, and more. This latest cohort brings the total number of cities certified for outstanding data practices to 50 since 2017.
“The most effective mayors use data to define problems and craft bold new solutions, and this milestone of 50 certified cities highlights the critical progress local governments are leading across the country,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and formerly 108th mayor of New York City.
“By building a culture of data-driven decision-making, these cities will be more resilient and better equipped to fight climate change, protect public health, increase economic mobility, and much more.”
The programme also measures whether cities are publicly and transparently communicating about their use of data and evidence. Each city that participates in certification receives a customised city assessment that highlights their unique strengths and opportunities for improvement.
“By building a culture of data-driven decision-making, these cities will be more resilient and better equipped to fight climate change, protect public health, increase economic mobility, and much more”
What Works Cities partners then provide coaching, training, and technical assistance to help city leaders improve their data and evidence capabilities, embrace new practices aligned to the certification standard, and drive outcomes for their community.
Some examples of how these newly certified cities are using evidence and data to address current and future challenges include:
- Long Beach used data to micro-target more than 1,250 Covid-impacted local businesses, which then received more than $700,000 in grants
- Salinas launched a programme to track and respond to 24 data points to help inform youth and gang violence prevention strategies, resulting in a 60 per cent decline in youth violence
- Durham used data to remove barriers to employment for 46,000 individuals by suspending fines and fees, and restoring residents’ driver’s licenses
- Miami deployed a resident-powered app to help map the highest-risk areas for flooding to help protect neighbourhoods and save lives
- Buffalo used open data to identify properties in urgent need of lead remediation, and secured $2.3m in federal funds to help address the issue.