March 13, 2013

Chicago Named as One of Five Winners in Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Chicago Wins $1 Million Prize to Build First Citywide Real-Time Analytics Platform, Making Cities Smarter and Better Places to Live

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded the City of Chicago $1 million for its innovative idea to build the first citywide real-time predictive analytics platform. The award is through the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition that called upon American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Chicago won a $1 million innovation prize to support the development and implementation of this groundbreaking platform over the next few years, which will fundamentally change the way cities use data to improve services. Once developed, this tool will be open-sourced and available for any city to adopt.

“Here in Chicago, we see opportunity in complexity and we are thrilled to be recognized as a winner in the Mayors Challenge. Today there are millions of pieces of data at our fingertips and the key to a smarter city is to use that data to make better decisions for our residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “At its core, our idea allows us to anticipate and get ahead of problems before they begin, helping us to be a more effective, smarter government. This platform has the potential to fundamentally change the way cities operate. With data, we are building a new path for all cities in the 21st century.”

Chicago was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities. The winning cities were chosen based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. Chicago will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson that commemorates each of the Mayors Challenge winners.

“Chicago’s predictive analytics platform will help the Windy City—and other cities—harness the power of data,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Mayor Emanuel’s idea tackles an issue of growing importance for cities and companies alike, and Bloomberg Philanthropies is eager to see this idea implemented.”

Chicago’s SmartData Platform is a tool that will provide leaders the ability to analyze millions of lines of data in real-time; this helps make smarter, earlier decisions to address a wide range of urban challenges. Here in Chicago, residents will see services delivered earlier. They will see more targeted responses that will address a wide range of urban issues – from managing weather emergencies to scaling back traffic accidents.

The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete, with 305 cities representing 45 states submitting applications last September. Providence, Rhode Island was awarded the $5 million grand prize, while Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million prizes. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers. And in 2011, Chicago received a $6 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to fund an Innovation Delivery Team to spearhead building a more effective government.  Since launching, Chicago’s Innovation Delivery Team has partnered with city departments on numerous efforts to help government work smarter and more efficiently for residents and small businesses.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office, the City has launched one of the most ambitious open data programs in the country, overhauling the City’s data portal,, to host more than 400 machine-readable and searchable datasets and has been viewed 2.5 million times. The City has standardized performance metrics across departments and made them available to the public online. And the City implemented an Open311 initiative, which reduces redundancies in City operations and allows Chicagoans to track their service requests online, making City government more effective and responsive.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation, which includes the Mayors Challenge, and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $360 million was distributed. For more information, please visit

For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, media should contact Meghan Womack,