SMILING MAYORS: Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg receives the Engaged Cities Award which is underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Engaged Cities Award shines light on the growing number of ways city leaders are co-creating the future with their residents.
Cities of Service announced Tulsa as one of three winners of the Engaged Cities Award, a new effort to elevate cities that are working creatively to tap the wisdom, talents, and energy of community members to solve public problems. Tulsa was recognized for combining bold mayoral leadership and the reach of city hall with the on-the-ground knowledge of citizens to address serious challenges.
Tulsa was named as a Cities of Service Engaged Cities winner due to the City of Tulsa’s Urban Data Pioneers program created by the Mayor’s Performance Strategy and Innovation Office that engages citizens to tackle problems by using data. Over 120 individuals throughout the community and the City organization participated in Urban Data Pioneers, which examined data to help address public issues, such as expanding the prioritization of street repairs based on data and the creation of a data collection tool for the public to use to collect data on blight.
“At the City of Tulsa we believe the use of data and technology can bring people together to solve our greatest challenges, and we are incredibly honored to be recognized as a Cities of Service Engaged Cities award winner,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “At a time of so much division nationally and internationally, cities around the world are empowering local residents to build better communities – and this award is recognition that Tulsa is leading the way.”
Cities of Service began almost a decade ago and has become the nation’s premiere citizen engagement organization by working with hundreds of cities to involve citizens in creative and effective ways. Underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Engaged Cities Award shines light on the growing number of ways city leaders are co-creating the future with their residents. Cities of Service will amplify the winning strategies to give other cities across the world the chance to learn from, adopt, and improve upon these strategies back home.
“Tulsa has shown that humility is a key part of true leadership. When a mayor and his staff reach out to their people for help, together they can move the city forward faster and more effectively,” said Myung J. Lee, Cities of Service executive director. “Rather than worrying about job titles and getting held up by bureaucracy, they came together with their citizens to investigate the data to make the city work better.”
Cities of Service received more than 100 applications from cities in the Americas and Europe for the first-ever Engaged Cities Award. The winners were selected based on key selection criteria, including significant work with citizens to tackle a public problem, evidence of impact, and potential to apply the strategy to other issues and geographies. Each winning city receives a prize of $70,000 that can be used at the discretion of the city in support of furthering the city’s efforts to engage their citizens to tackle problems. The two cities to win along with Tulsa were Bologna, Italy, and Santiago de Cali, Colombia.
Tulsa plans to use the funding to launch the Civic Innovation Fellowship that will continue to engage citizens in solving civic problems. The City will also look to replicate the Urban Data Pioneers program and train employees and citizens in data analysis skills.
The Engaged Cities Award was open to cities with populations of 30,000+ in the Americas and Europe. Cities submitted their applications in January. Cities of Service, along with an esteemed group of experts, chose three winning cities. Winners were announced as part of the Engaged Cities Award Dinner and Summit. The award is part of Michael R. Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a program designed to empower city leaders to generate new ideas and advance policy that moves the nation forward.
For more information about the Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award, visit engagedcitiesaward.org.