Cities Acknowledged for Knowledge Use

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program has announced the 16 cities this year that have met its standards for a certification award to jurisdictions that use data effectively.

Unveiled earlier this week, the list is split into two tiers. The gold-level certification recipients are Austin, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Detroit, Mich.; and Gilbert, Ariz. Meanwhile, the silver-level certification recipients are Baton Rouge, La.; Bellevue, Wash.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Glendale, Ariz.; Irving, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Norfolk, Va.; Portland, Ore.; San Antonio, Texas; and Syracuse, N.Y. In addition to the 16 new certifications, three cities that had previously been certified made the jump from the silver level to the gold level, and they are Cambridge, Mass.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Phoenix, Ariz. Finally, four other cities were recertified at their same levels from last year. The cities of South Bend, Ind.; San Jose, Calif.; and Topeka, Kan. remained at the silver level, while Tempe, Ariz., remained at the gold level.

Since the program’s launch in 2018, 40 cities have received certifications. A full list of the certification recipients over the years is available on the What Works Cities website, along with specific information about what the cities had to do to receive their respective designations.


In brief, the cities achieved their certifications based on how their leadership has been using data to inform decisions around policy and funding.

“Data-informed strategies have enabled these newly certified cities to increase resident satisfaction, reduce carbon emissions, address homelessness and more,” What Works Cities wrote in its announcement.

Partners in the program include Results for America, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University and the Behavioural Insights Team.

Any city with a population of 30,000 residents or more is eligible to apply for certification. Certified cities get a customized assessment, as well as a wide range of benefits from the program’s partner groups, including coaching, training and technical assistance. To date, What Works Cities participants have received more than $84 million in support aimed at helping them enhance their use of data. (Zack Quaintance)

Columbus, Ohio, Partnership Aims to Reduce Gun Violence With Data

City officials in Columbus, Ohio, have announced the creation of the Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC), intended to help reduce gun violence.

The program will use technology such as ShotSpotter to collect data. The partnership allows Columbus Division of Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio to collaborate closely to address the overall issue of gun violence.

ATF Special Agent Roland Herndon stated during a press conference that CGIC’s creation will help law enforcement share information and identify the perpetrators of violent crimes. Other resources, including the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, will help identify such individuals as well.

“This partnership is not a first step, and it will not be our last,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said during the conference. “But it’s an important step toward restoring safety, ensuring justice and laying the foundation for a better tomorrow.” (Julia Edinger)

Pittsburgh, Pa., Launches Initiatives to Increase Equity in Transit

Pittsburgh, Pa., launched two programs to support equity of access to and use of transit: Move PGH and a “Universal Basic Mobility” pilot.

The city and its Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) worked with partners to develop Move PGH. The initiative is a mobility-as-a-service system that integrates transit and shared mobility in 50 mobility hubs, which will be available in the city and on the Transit app, which allows residents to access their preferred mode of transit, including buses, bikes, scooters and more.

Move PGH’s system of integrated services facilitates the creation of the “Universal Basic Mobility” pilot, which will offer monthly transit subscriptions to up to 100 low-income Pittsburgh residents. The pilot is intended to test whether improved transit access can positively impact other variables, such as employment and health.

The new programs are funded through Spin and the Richard King Mellon Foundation in partnership with InnovatePGH. (Julia Edinger)

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