Rourkela in Top 50 of Global Mayors Challenge 2021

Bhubaneswar: The Steel City Rourkela was elevated to final round among 50 champion cities in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition organised by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Rourkela found the place as one of the finalist cities in India apart from Pune in 5 Asia-Pacific countries for urban innovations.

Bloomberg Philanthropies named Rourkela among top 50 cities for supporting solar-powered cold storage—plus women entrepreneurship—to reduce food waste.

This year’s programme focuses on identifying the unique innovations by residents of cities in response to global COVID-19 pandemic.

The 50 cities from 29 countries were selected based on four criteria — vision, potential from impact, feasibility and transferability.

The Mayors from 631 cities in 99 countries had submitted their most promising ideas for consideration, from those, a committee of global experts has selected the 50 most innovative urban solutions to emerge in the wake of COVID-19 to advance in the competition.

The 50 Champion Cities, representing the boldest urban innovations of the past year, that will advance to the finalist stage of the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition that encourages and spreads the cities’ most promising ideas, the Bloomberg Philanthropies said in a release yesterday.

The ideas provide a powerful snapshot of the innovation priorities of the world’s cities. At the global level, innovations focusing on improving health and reducing unemployment were most common. Racial justice emerged as the area of highest priority for U.S. cities, while social inclusion topped the European submissions. In Africa, where the world is experiencing its fastest rates of urbanization, infrastructure was dominant. Nearly half of the submissions were generated in part through participatory processes with residents.

“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” the Bloomberg quoted Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City as saying. “By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just,” he added.

The 50 Champion Cities of Global Mayors Challenge and their standout innovations are:

Africa (16% of Finalists):

Cape Town, South Africa: Transforming soup kitchens into a sustainable food-distribution infrastructure
Danané, Côte d’Ivoire: Transforming mobility for vulnerable residents
Freetown, Sierra Leone: Incentivizing community action to combat urban deforestation
Kigali, Rwanda: Adopting proven rainwater-harvesting technologies in informal communities
Kumasi, Ghana: Training unemployed youth to create new household toilet technologies
Lusaka, Zambia: Incentivizing the repurposing of trash into needed products
Meru, Kenya: Using Black Soldier Fly larvae to fix an inadequate waste-collection system
Umuaka, Nigeria: Digital support for survivors of gender-based violence

Asia-Pacific (16% of Finalists):

Auckland, New Zealand: Calculating carbon emissions for infrastructure development
Butuan, Philippines: Leveraging predictive data to bolster local farmers
Daegu, South Korea: Digital permissioning to bring new life to urban spaces
Manila, Philippines: Building a 21st-century data infrastructure to improve city services
Pune, India: Building the foundation for an all-electric-vehicle future
Rourkela, India: Supporting solar-powered cold storage—plus women entrepreneurship—to reduce food waste
Taipei, Taiwan: Using virtual reality to promote safe, active lifestyles for seniors
Wellington, New Zealand: Leveraging a city digital-twin to encourage resident engagement on climate action

Europe (16% of Finalists):

Bilbao, Spain: Building a cybersecure city and citizenry
Glasgow, United Kingdom: Unleashing a neighborhood-level participatory approach to community wellbeing
Istanbul, Turkey: Creating a platform for individual philanthropy at a city-wide scale
Leuven, Belgium: Using ‘civic contracts’ to drive individual and organizational climate action
London, United Kingdom: Deploying rapid, upstream interventions to prevent chronic homelessness
Paris, France: Offering free climate-activism education for Parisian youth
Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Using digital tokens to incentivize social impact from the private sector
Vilnius, Lithuania: Building a resilient, post-COVID model for hybrid learning

South America (16% of Finalists):

Bogotá, Colombia: Creating “care blocks” to shift the gender inequity of care
Cartagena, Colombia: Pioneering a gender-aware approach to emergency response
La Paz, Bolivia: Co-designing nine new urban centers with residents to ensure equitable access to services
Recife, Brazil: Deploying a unique mix of services to foster women’s entrepreneurship at scale
Renca, Chile: Enlisting the wisdom of seniors to create community-development projects and reduce isolation.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Improving housing conditions in favelas using cutting-edge mapping technology.
Rosario, Argentina: Formalizing and subsidizing informal waste collection
Tunja, Colombia: Transforming public space with a circular-economy lens

Middle East (4% of Finalists):

Amman, Jordan: Using “reachability maps” to improve the city’s emergency response and guide investments
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel: Engaging youth to make the city’s cultural center more resilient

North America (32% of Finalists):

Akron, Ohio: Taking lessons from how we train medical students to support Black entrepreneurs
Baltimore, Maryland: Deploying a citywide, coordinated system to support Black owned businesses
Birmingham, Alabama: Investing in the next generation of food entrepreneurs
Columbus, Ohio: Providing last-mile Wi-Fi access to underserved neighborhoods
Durham, North Carolina: Building a team to help residents access untapped federal resources and support
Guadalajara, Mexico: Creating a “citizen-safety index” to combat violent crime
Hermosillo, Mexico: Providing new employment opportunities for women in the circular economy
Lansing, Michigan: Launching cross-sectoral partnerships to halt learning loss in children
Long Beach, California: Using the city’s power to bring transparency to the gig economy
Louisville, Kentucky: Creating the diverse tech workforce of the future
New Orleans, Louisiana: Bringing a trust-building lens to the delivery of public services
Newark, New Jersey: Reducing crime by focusing on the city’s most persistent offenders
Paterson, New Jersey: Providing proven, on-demand treatment to those struggling with opioid addiction
Phoenix, Arizona: Deploying “career mobility units” to support job-seekers
Rochester, Minnesota: Creating a pathway for women of color into the growing, high-paying local construction field
San Jose, California: Bolstering the college-support pipeline for marginalized families

The 50 finalist cities will go through a four-month testing phase to refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts. Out of 50 finalists, 15 cities will be selected for the award with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement their breakthrough ideas and spread their ideas to other cities around the world.

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