People May 4, 2016 | 9:45 am

LatAm, Caribbean cities submit Ideas to solve pressing urban challenges

New York, /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Bloomberg Philanthropiestoday announced that 290 cities across Latin America and the Caribbean havesubmitted ideas to solve major challenges and improve city life for the 2016Mayors Challenge. The ideas offer insight into the needs of communities andpriorities of local leaders in the region.

Seven in ten ideas aim to address a social or economicchallenge, while the remaining 30% focus on improving government effectivenessand efficiency.

71% of cities generated ideas to address major social oreconomic challenges such as:

Social inclusion for vulnerable populations (23%)

Sustainability (20%)

Economic growth (13%)

Education (9%)

Public health (8%)

29% of city ideas focus on improving the overalleffectiveness and efficiency of government

Applicants for the 2016 Mayors Challenge proposedinnovative solutions to address a wide range of urban challenges. A series ofthemes emerged in the ideas, including:

Leveraging technology and citizen engagement to improvegovernment performance

An emphasis on public awareness initiatives, citizenparticipation and digital solutions to prepare for and address naturaldisasters

An interest in entrepreneurship and digital learning toimprove education

Promoting the inclusion of vulnerable populations throughjob creation, better use of public spaces and technology

Improving public health through wide-ranging citizenengagement strategies

"Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are some ofthe most innovative in the world, and they are proving it with their entries inour latest Mayors Challenge. The hundreds of proposals present exciting newways to tackle problems across the region, and they have the potential to havea big impact on the lives of millions of people," said Michael R.Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New YorkCity.

Additionally, a survey taken of participating cities showedsignificant city hall interest in innovation, but a lack of resources needed toexperiment.

More than half of participating cities report regularlyborrowing ideas from cities in the region or even from around the globe whenfaced with a tough problem.

Three out of 5 cities said they usually or alwayscrowdsource ideas from citizens when they are faced with a tough problem.

Just 1 out of 5 participating cities report usually havingaccess to public or private funding to test new ideas.

The 290 Mayors Challenge applicants represent over 172million citizens in 19 countries across the region. Participating cities spanthe entire region with 71% from South America, 20% from Mexico and 9% from CentralAmerica and the Caribbean.

Seventeen capital cities in the region submitted ideas tothe competition – from Santiago to Brasilia to Mexico City to Kingston. Withapplications from 80 Brazilian cities and 59 Mexican cities, Brazil and Mexicohad the largest number of cities that submitted applications.

"This is a region of the world with a rich history ofpublic sector innovation. The ideas coming from the Mayors Challenge build onthat legacy. We see a stronger focus in this year’s ideas on citizenengagement, which is both a trend in governments worldwide as well as an areain which Latin American cities have been clear leaders," said James Anderson,the head of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation program.

The current applicants emerged from more than 900 LatinAmerican and Caribbean cities who were invited by the Mayors Challenge inJanuary 2016 to compete. Cities had until April 15, 2016 to generate and submittheir innovative ideas to improve city government and city life. Modeled onsuccessful competitions in the United States and Europe, the 2016 MayorsChallenge will award $5 million USD grand prize and four $1 million awards tofour other cities that generate the most powerful and transferable ideas.

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