Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge continues to foster city-level dev’t


As the world grapples with challenges directly caused by the ongoing pandemic, as well as those indirectly aggravated by the situation, locally developed and administered solutions have the greatest potential to improve people’s lives, co-lead at the Government Innovation Programmes at Bloomberg Philanthropies, Andrea Coleman, has said.

According to her, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities – 55 percent at current rates, with conservative estimates by the United Nations pointing to the rate reaching 68 percent by 2050, especially in population-dense and rapidly developing areas such as Asia and Africa, there is a need for local governments to be innovative and take charge of their developmental needs.

“We believe cities have the unique power to bring real, impactful change that improves people’s daily lives,” she said in an interview with the B&FT prior to the announcement of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayor Challenge’s fifth edition winners.

Offering insights into the Challenge, she explained that it is a worldwide innovation competition that aims at uncovering “the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations” – those that will help to support and spread the most creative ideas developed by cities.

“Bloomberg Philanthropies provides the support local leaders need to bring bold ideas to life and spread proven solutions to cities around the world,” the co-lead at the philanthropic arm of Bloomberg LP added.


With a rich history of tackling relevant issues, she noted, the winning ideas for this edition had as their focus one or more of four current issue-areas in cities: including economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and gender and equality.

In addition, she described scalability of the winning ideas as “very important”, as the goal is to see development replicated.

“It is one of the four key criteria the 631 applicants were judged on. The winners were selected based on four criteria: vision; potential for impact; feasibility; and transferability… One of the unique aspects of the Mayors Challenge is that it allows cities to tell us what their most pressing challenges are, and we support their work to develop bold solutions,” she explained.

In addition to receiving US$1million to execute their innovative ideas, winning cities will also receive robust technical support and coaching over the next three years to implement their ideas and build the foundation to help them spread, she indicated.

“We are very proud of the impact previous winners have had on their cities. After a year-long competition that included a rigorous testing phase, we are confident that each of the winning city ideas has the foundation to be successful,” Ms. Coleman added.

Currently, winning ideas from previous editions are being replicated in more than 250 cities around the world.

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