With the proportion of people living in urban centers at an all-time high--and national governments seemingly incapable of promoting the shift toward sustainability--cities are in the best position to implement solutions to big problems. NYC's billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees, and he's putting his money where his mouth is.
This week Mayor Bloomberg announced a new competition to inspire "breakthrough solutions" to the problems facing American cities. Operating through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the "Mayors Challenge" will award a $5 million grand prize and four $1 million secondary prizes to innovative ideas that improve urban life across the country.
"Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources," said Bloomberg in a statement. "Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward. The Mayors Challenge creates an opportunity for mayors to champion their boldest ideas--and to have them take root locally and perhaps spread nationally."
The competition is open to any city with over 30,000 residents. Entrants have until September 14th to submit their ideas, and 20 finalists will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp where their projects will be refined over two days. Winners will be announced in the spring of 2013.
Check out this video to learn more about the challenge.
Photo: A view of downtown Houston, TX from Eleanor Tinsley Park. (Wikimedia Commons)