Raleigh wants a piece of the $9 million dollars up for grabs in the Mayors Challenge offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The only thing we have to do is come up with one of the best ideas to improve our local government. The good news is, that idea is already in the works.
The Mayors Challenge was announced on June 13, 2012 and 1,300 mayors from U.S. cities with 30,000 residents were invited to compete. The challenge is a competition to “inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.”
Mayor Nancy McFarlane officially RSVPed the City of Raleigh last week and is eyeing the grand prize of $5 million dollars.
The leading idea found it’s roots at CityCamp Raleigh in June. At-Large City Councilor Russ Stephenson pitched the idea around Community Health Score which attracted a core group of folks. After CityCamp Raleigh, Councilor Stephenson and Mayor McFarlane have continued to refine the idea. I attended a planning meetup last week where a group of folks discussed the Mayor’s Challenge and tried to narrow down some of the winning concepts.
According to Councilor Stephenson, no other ideas have been brought to the Mayors attention and the clock is ticking. The Community Health Score has morphed into a Community Health Mapping concept.
While the issue is very complex, the idea is to improve the overall health of our community through design. Imagine blending existing information like Walk Score and Bike Score, integrate it with GIS mapping, and create a smarter way to improve the health of our citizens. This type of information could help city officials and developers to determine where to locate and build community centers, sidewalks, or bike lanes. Alternatively, this could also lead to things like a bike share program. The possibilities are endless.
There is a great opportunity to attract community involvement in the Mayor’s Challenge. In fact, there have already been rumblings on Twitter about CityCamp Raleigh, AIGA Raleigh, and Activate Good partnering in a concept called “Design for Good” that could help Raleigh win the Mayor’s Challenge.
The community health team is organizing quickly. An elevator pitch and a website are in the works. We’ll be sure to keep you updated when there is more information to communicate.