Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is making a major investment in the development of data for cities, according to Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post. Their goal is to invest $42 million to create the What Works Cities Initiative, “aimed at helping 100 mid-size cities make better use of data and evidence in their policymaking.”
To shed some light on what helped kick start this initiative, Tankersley explains how a data driven investigation into fire department call outs resulted in a radical procedural change in Mesa, Arizona. The investigation found that as many as “80 percent of the fire calls were actually medical issues.” As such, rather than sending out a fully staffed fire engine, they now deploy “a smaller truck staffed by a firefighter and a nurse’s assistant from a local hospital” and reserve the fully staffed versions for clear, relevant emergencies.
James Anderson, who leads the government innovation programme for Bloomberg Philanthropies, makes it clear that “there’s very little data on the use of data and evidence in local governments.” As such, “mayors are just hungry for tools and resources that help them use data more effectively.”
Read on in The Washington Post for more information on this latest move by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Given the What Works Cities Initiative hopes to fuel best-practice sharing, we look forward to hearing the impact of this $42 million investment and to sharing some of the projects here on our blog.
Be sure to check out the original article from The Washington Post and let us know what you think.