Louisville selected as one of first cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “What Works Cities” initiative

LOUISVILLE, KY – Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville is one of the first cities selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities – a $42 million initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve the lives of residents.

Louisville is one of eight cities that will receive expert on-the-ground support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to make local government more effective. Since the launch of the What Works Cities initiative in April 2015, mayors from every region of the country have expressed their desire for assistance to address local challenges using data and evidence and within the first six weeks alone, 112 U.S. cities across 40 states applied.

“Making better use of data is one of the best opportunities cities have to solve problems and deliver better results for their citizens. The first group of cities in the What Works Cities program  represents the range of local leaders across the country who are committed to using data and evidence to improve people’s everyday lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg.

What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities to review their current use of data and evidence, understand where they are utilizing best practices and identify areas for growth. Through its expert partners, What Works Cities then designs a customized approach to help mayors apply tools to address a variety of local issues including economic development, public health, job creation and blight.

louisville skyline

“Our Office for Performance Improvement leads our efforts in using data to make decisions and to drive our ambitious agenda,” Fischer said. “We focus on what works for citizens and use data to improve what doesn’t work. That’s why our participation with What Works Cities is a perfect partnership. I’m honored that Louisville has been chosen for this important work.”

Working with the What Works Cities world-class partners, Louisville will enhance its open data system to improve accuracy, make it easier for city employees and residents to utilize city data, and ensure data used in decision making is open and transparent. Louisville will also integrate rapid, low-cost evaluations into planning new initiatives and improving existing programs.

Two areas of focus for Louisville include:

  • Making performance data used in the city’s LouieStat process more user friendly and accessible, visually attractive and available in near real time allowing citizens to track progress in meeting strategic goals; and
  • Working with The Behavioral Insights Team, a global organization that originated in the heart of the UK government, to increase the effectiveness of the City’s day-to-day operations and aid departmental decision-making by integrating low-cost evaluation into the planning of new initiatives as well as into improvements of existing practices.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our team to continue to mature in our use of data and evidenced-based practices to improve how we serve our citizens,” Chief of Performance & Technology Theresa Reno-Weber said. “Our team is grateful to be named an initial member of What Works Cities and looks forward to working with other cities and global experts – one of the many benefits of this program.”

In addition to Louisville, the other inaugural cities selected to participate are Chattanooga, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Seattle, Washington; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

One hundred cities will be admitted to the program on a rolling basis through 2017, adding momentum to the national movement among cities to use data and evidence to improve the delivery of government services and advance cities’ strategic goals. The What Works Cities initiative capitalizes on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ belief in the importance of data and evidence to improve people’s lives and make government more effective.

The consortium of leading organizations that has been assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide a program of support, includes: Results for America; the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University; the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School;   Sunlight Foundation; and The Behavioral Insights Team.

Partners will inspire, challenge, and support cities to:

  • Create sustainable open data programs and policies that deliver results, increase resident engagement, and promote transparency;
  • Better incorporate data into budget, operational and policy decision making;
  • Conduct low-cost rapid eval
    uations that allow cities to continually improve programs; and/ or
  • Focus funding on effective approaches that deliver results for citizens.

For more information on What Works Cities, visit whatworkscities.bloomberg.org.