Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative announced a new certification program that rewards achievements and provides “a clear path to excellence.”
WWC Executive Director Simone Brody in CityLab:
“We’re trying to help all cities look at the standard and say, ‘Here’s where we are relative to the 50 things we should be doing,’” says Brody. “When a city applies, we won’t just tell them how they’re doing. We will give them a roadmap for what they should be doing in three, six, or 12 months.”
And Brody in StateScoop:
Cities today, Brody said, are, on average, at about “40 percent toward perfect.”
Initiatives such as this have historically been a great way to educate and kickstart modernization efforts, whether it’s open data or open source, but ultimately once the box is checked, it’s back to business as usual.
The key for WWC is to create a meaningful, annual review with accessible, publicly-documented report card of how all certified cities are not just fulfilling the obligations, but also how they’re continuously improving. What qualifies as certified this year may not apply or have been considered next year.
Like sports, civic excellence is a constant quest for perfection, and the greats constantly push the bar. There’s always a new game, new season, new dynamics.