Columbia has been selected as the final city to participate in the What Works Cities initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies program that works with 100 cities nationwide to use data to achieve better results for residents.
With the help of the initiative, Columbia will set up a data management team and develop an open data policy to achieve strategic priorities, beginning with improving the local stormwater system.
“We are excited to commit to becoming a smarter city, and joining the What Works Cities initiative will be a major component of that commitment,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said in a statement. “Our utilities and engineering department is always implementing increasingly efficient services, and we’re excited to roll out the new policies.”
The initiative will give Columbia access to expert organizations including the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University and the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Four other cities joined the initiative today: Grand Rapids, Mich., Honolulu, Irving, Texas, and Long Beach, Calif.
“When cities know how to put data at the core of their decision-making, they’re equipped with the tools to best solve local challenges and serve their communities,” said Simone Brody, executive director of What Works Cities. “We’re excited to welcome these five cities and very proud to reach our goal of working with 100 cities across the United States.”
The cities working with the initiative represent more than 31 million residents from 39 states.o