A look at government innovation contest finalists

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • November 5, 2012 - 4:24 AM

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.

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