Improving citizens' lives with data: 'What Works Cities' selected

Wed, 2015-08-19 06:00 -- Doug Peeples

The eight cities selected to participate in a $42 million Bloomberg Philanthropies-sponsored initiative will have the advantage of expert assistance from What Works Cities' knowledgeable partners to assess how they use data and evidence now, learn where they are employing best practices and identify areas where they can do better.

"Making better use of data is one of the best opportunities cities have to solve problems and deliver better results for their citizens. The first group of cities in the What Works Cities program represent the range of local leaders across the country who are committed to using data and evidence to improve people's everyday lives," explained Michael R. Bloomberg. Bloomberg Philanthropies is the umbrella organization for the former mayor of New York City's charitable work.

The cities and their projects
The cities selected in the first round of What Works Cities are Chattanooga, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Seattle, Washington, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

  • Jackson and Mesa will initiate open data practices for the first time
  • Chattanooga, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, Seattle and Tulsa will beef up their current open data procedures
  • Jackson and Tulsa will, for the first time, establish a citywide, performance management program to be led by their mayors
  • Chattanooga, Kansas City and Mesa will make their current performance management programs stronger
  • New Orleans and Louisville will create ways to perform low-cost, real-time program evaluations
  • Seattle will concentrate on getting better results from its contracts by integrating data and evidence

More than 100 cities applied to participate in the What Works Cities program.

The organizations that will provide support for the cities' efforts are Results for America, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Sunlight Foundation and The Behavioral Insights Team.

The What Works Cities initiative is one of many Bloomberg Philanthropies programs designed to, as its press release says, help cities innovate and find solutions to issues as diverse as climate change, public health and employment in a global economy.

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