Although he may be finishing up his tenure as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg is far from relinquishing the spotlight as he extends his cities-as-civic-laboratories campaign overseas to popular European cities. Bloomberg began this campaign to inspire U.S. cities to play a more active role in their communities. “I am a big believer in the power of cities to shape the future,” Bloomberg said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Using his own fortune, Bloomberg has invited over 600 European cities to compete for a $12 million prize that would be awarded to the city with the most innovative plan to improve urban life. The proposal is required to improve government function by making it more citizen amiable. Bloomberg believes such positive innovation could inspire other European cities and then subsequently spread to cities across the world.
A spokesman for Bloomberg Philanthropies’, James Anderson, stated that although there are existing foundations that offer funding to try new innovations, “flexible funds for early-stage innovation are hard to come by in cities in the United States and Europe.” In the past year Bloomberg Philanthropies’ has donated $370 million. Along with his many philanthropic ventures Bloomberg plans to continue to focus on promoting government innovation in his retirement.