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Bloomberg Philanthropies to help 100 mid-sized U.S. cities tap ‘Big Data’

A $42 million Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative will enable 100 U.S. cities to tap urban data more effectively to strengthen decision making and planning. (Ismagilov/

A $42 million initiative launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies aims to help mayors and other local leaders harness urban data. The “What Works Cities” program would guide 100 mid-sized U. S. cities on using statistics to improve municipal government and people’s lives, the philanthropy says. Cities with populations from 100,000 to 1 million are eligible to apply.

Metropolitan areas collect reams of stats on everything from traffic and blight to weather and health. But there are few resources available to help city leaders analyze it, the philanthropy explains. Mayors would receive technical guidance and training on strategies to mine this “Big Data” to fine-tune planning and decision making. Additional goals are to encourage government transparency and civic engagement.

“The possibilities for how cities can use that data to improve lives — and improve the way services are provided to citizens — are limitless,” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg writes in the Huffington Post. The initiative is the “most comprehensive effort yet” of its kind, adds Bloomberg, who founded the philanthropy that bears his name.

Cities have until June 1 to apply to be part of the program.


Bloomberg Philanthropies

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