Billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent the past 12 years as Mayor of New York. He is famously convinced that he knows what's best for everyone else. Not just what's best in civic government, but what's best in health, personal habits, and much more.
And what's best for Europe, apparently. Now that he is about to exit the mayor's post, he has invited 600 European cities to compete for $12 million in prizes for ways to improve urban life.
We salute Bloomberg's stated intention to focus his future time on philanthropy -- and his use of competitions to surface the best ideas. -- Jesse Berst
"I am a big believer in the power of cities to shape the future," Bloomberg said in a statement to Associated Press prior to a news conference at London City Hall where he announced his Mayors Challenge.
The European competition is similar to one Bloomberg held in the U.S. this year where he awarded $9 million to five cities. The top prize went to Providence, R.I., which got $5 million for a project to improve poor children's vocabularies.
The European version is open to cities with populations of 100,000 or more in 40 countries. The objective is to bubble up ideas that will solve problems or make city governments more efficient or citizen-friendly.
Bloomberg has said his philanthropy will be his focus once he leaves office and according to an AP report, government innovation will be among the priorities.
Interested cities can learn more about the Mayors Challenge here. The application deadline is Nov. 11, 2013.