A look at government innovation contest finalists

Nov 5, 2012, 10:24 AM

(AP) – After submitting ideas about addressing urban challenges and improving city life, 20 cities around the country have been chosen as finalists in a government-innovation contest sponsored by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies. Here are the cities and proposals that now get to compete for a $5 million grand prize and four $1 million awards:

_ Boston: Using cloud computing to put student data under control of parents and guardians and empower them to share it with educators and entrepreneurs.

_ Chicago: A data-analytics system that will aggregate data from all city departments and identify patterns in real time, allowing leaders to make smarter decisions faster.

_ Cincinnati: Monitoring, increased prenatal care, education and home visit follow-ups from a community health worker for every new mother giving birth in the city’s poorest and most medically underserved ZIP codes.

_ Durham, N.C.: Creating “Proof of Concept” labs in three struggling communities to foster entrepreneurship.

_ High Point, N.C._ Adapting a noted anti-gang-violence program to the problem of domestic violence.

_ Hillsboro, Ore. _ Creating transportation hubs that allow for such alternatives as bike sharing, car and ride sharing, hourly rental cars and van pools.

_ Houston: Creating a system that lets people throw all waste, including recyclables, into one bin and use a range of technologies to sort it automatically.

_ Indianapolis _ Creating spots for 30,000 students through partnerships between charter and traditional public schools.

_ Knoxville, Tenn. _ A project that aims to encompass the entire urban food cycle by using vacant lots to grow food, establishing certified kitchens to process food, and establishing a legal mechanism to enable food distribution to those in need and produce sales to local establishments.

_ Lafayette, La. _ Applying game-design thinking and mechanics to civic behavior.

_ Lexington, Ky. _ A system that analyzes data on how the city is doing, in areas ranging from crime to jobs, and invites volunteers to suggest solutions and even implement them.

_ Milwaukee _ Designating many of some 4,000 city-owned vacant lots and foreclosed homes for urban agriculture and urban homesteading.

_ Philadelphia: Engaging entrepreneurs in framing social challenges and seeking solutions;

_ Phoenix: Create 15 “smart-energy districts,” using a matrix of options such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and other choices.

_ Providence, R.I. _ Use new technology and state home visitation services to equip every family in the city to measure children’s household auditory environment and close vocabulary deficits in real time.

_ Saint Paul, Minn. _ Streamlining the permit application process for residents, developers, and businesses, in a way inspired by TurboTax.

_ San Francisco _ Matching job-seekers with volunteering opportunities on city projects to create efficiencies and promote workforce development.

_ Santa Monica, Calif. _ Create a wellbeing index to reorient the definition of success, seeking to achieve a measurable wellbeing increase in five years.

_ Springfield, Ore. _ A plan to provide universal, cost-effective access to primary healthcare through the development of mobile primary care units, staffed 24 hours a day.

_ Syracuse, N.Y. _ Create an “International village” to welcome and create economic opportunities for refugees and other immigrants, while channeling investment into an area of underutilized residential and commercial buildings.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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A look at government innovation contest finalists