March 14, 2014 10:36 AM
By Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President, Global Public Affairs
Whether it's rapid population growth or how to deal with aging infrastructure, cities - at their core - face a common set of urban challenges. At Citi, we have supported the growth and progress of cities for more than 200 years. That's why we are proud to join Living Cities, a non-profit consortium of foundations across the United States, to launch the City Accelerator
program to help municipal governments address some of these challenges.
Every year, Living Cities and the Harvard Kennedy School
bring together mayoral chiefs-of-staff throughout the nation to collaborate on new and inventive policy ideas, including ways to encourage economic development, promote tourism and increase transportation options for citizens. The goal of the $3 million City Accelerator initiative is to provide seed funding to nine U.S. cities - selected based on their proposals and track record of delivering results - to turn their ideas for innovative programs and services into reality.
From the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which aims to help build a more sustainable future for our children, to fighting crime, to implementing better health initiatives, cities are at the forefront of innovation. My time as deputy mayor in New York City made it abundantly clear why that's the case. When streets need to be plowed, or when the trash needs to be picked up, or when emergency response operations need to be overhauled, it's mayors and urban leaders who are held accountable - and they are taking real, meaningful steps to make the lives of people better and easier.
The first winning round of City Accelerator cities will be announced this summer, and participating municipalities will also be able to share ideas on confronting similar issues, adopt best practices, and create models for others to follow. We are committed to partnering with cities to seek solutions that enhance quality of life for residents - and we look forward to hearing what they can come up with.