For the first time the challenge is a global competition, which seeks to identify and accelerate the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has launched the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, which seeks to identify and accelerate the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the first time the challenge will be a global competition.
It will also select more finalists and winners than in previous years: 50 finalists that represent the world’s leading urban innovations to emerge from the pandemic will be chosen and then 15 grand prize winners will receive $1m each and support to implement their ideas.
Bold ideas invited
Cities with populations of 100,000 or more are invited to submit their “boldest ideas” at any stage of development. Applications close on March 21, 2021.
The four themes for this year’s competition will address the most significant challenges to emerge during the pandemic:
- economic recovery and inclusive growth
- health and wellbeing
- climate and environment
- good governance and equality.
“Across the globe, mayors are on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. And as they continue to manage this unprecedented public health crisis, city leaders are finding creative new ways to deliver services while also rebuilding their economies in ways that tackle climate change and fight inequality,” said Michael Bloomberg, former three-term mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
He added: “The Bloomberg Philanthropies 2021 Global Mayors Challenge is designed to support leaders who are on the cutting edge of urban policy and work with them to test their most innovative ideas – and spread what works to other cities around the world. To emerge from this crisis stronger, cities need to be bold – and I have no doubt this year’s ideas will be some of the best yet.”
“As they continue to manage this unprecedented public health crisis, city leaders are finding creative new ways to deliver services while also rebuilding their economies in ways that tackle climate change and fight inequality”
Cities selected as finalists in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge will have access to an expansive programme of support. Finalists will receive coaching from world-renowned experts in innovation, data, and project-specific subject matter to strengthen their submissions. Bespoke technical assistance and training will also help finalists test and refine their ideas. Finally, cities will join a network of peers also pursuing bold, new ideas.
The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge builds on the success of four previous Bloomberg Philanthropies-sponsored Challenges in the US (2013 and 2018), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). Previous winners include:
- Barcelona for work to create digital trust networks that support at-risk elderly citizens
- Providence, Rhode Island for a programme to measure and reduce the “word gap” among low-income children during pivotal brain development years
- Guadalajara for developing a programme to fight corruption in the construction industry that has spread across the state of Jalisco
- Huntington, West Virginia, for creating a wellness programme and system of care to prevent burnout from first responders on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
In total, 1,072 cities have applied to the previous four Mayors Challenges, 24 ideas have been selected as winners, and 22 of those ideas are being implemented in cities around the world. An additional 189 cities that did not win are continuing to develop their ideas.
Bloombger Philantropies Support Cities
Bloomberg Philanthropies has been supporting cities since the beginning of the pandemic. Last year, they released guidance to help city leaders collect and analyse key data to shape the next phase of recovery response to the pandemic while keeping the most vulnerable residents’ needs centre stage.
Covid-19 Management Metrics for Cities, developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and What Works Cities, provides a set of critical indicators alongside technical assistance for cities around their utilisation.
Bloomberg Philanthropies said it was in response to growing demand from mayors across the country for clear guidance for local government and are the first of their kind designed specifically for cities.
“Data is a vital tool to help city leaders respond to the Covid-19 pandemic as safely and equitably as possible,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“As mayors put together their plans to reopen and revive their local economies, the set of metrics we’ve developed in partnership with Johns Hopkins will allow them to focus their resources on communities in need – reducing health disparities and saving lives.”
Citiesabc was created by a team of global industry leaders, academics and experts to create new solutions, resources, rankings and connections for the world’s top cities and populations.