Louisville Selected For National Effort To Drive Innovation For Low-Income Citizens

Enhancing fire response system and better serving people suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse are two areas of focus

Louisville has been selected by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities as one of the first three participants in the City Accelerator, a $3 million program to help nine cities pilot leading innovations in local government.

Over the next 18 months, the cities of Louisville, Nashville and Philadelphia will receive a package of resources and in-kind support to help them adopt cutting-edge approaches to innovation and apply these new tools to tackle specific challenges facing low-income residents.

?Our goal with the City Accelerator Program is to build upon our many performance improvement and innovation efforts to create a world-leading and sustainable practice of innovation, on par with the R&D branches of a world-class company,? said Mayor Greg Fischer. ?We want to push beyond the status quo in all things touched by city government, and empower employees and citizens alike to participate in the work of innovation. We are both energized by and grateful for the support of the Citi Foundation and Living Cities in this effort.?

Louisville will employ its current innovation toolkit, alongside new approaches supported by the City Accelerator, to address issues such as enhancing its fire response system and better serving people suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse.

Louisville?s commitment to being an innovations? leader in local government has a solid foundation. Metro employees work with an Innovation Delivery Team on projects that combine data and innovative approaches to challenges. The projects range from reducing the number of vacant and abandoned properties in Louisville to expanding recycling and keeping waste out of the city landfill. Departments participate in the Louisville Statistics Program (LouieStat) using data to help Metro Government departments analyze performance and improvement opportunities. These efforts combined with a nationally recognized Office of Performance Improvement and an award-winning Office of Civic Innovation make Louisville a city on the move in the right direction.

?As cities continue to grow in both size and share of global GDP, they are faced with similar challenges that make collaboration imperative,? said Ed Skyler, Citi?s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs and Chairman of the Citi Foundation. ?The City Accelerator is a great opportunity to work with Mayor Fischer and other urban leaders by fueling the exchange of ideas and contributing to the success of cities around the country.?

?The level of interest, and the quality of the proposals we received during the first round of the City Accelerator, are a testament to the appetite and creativity of cities across the country in disrupting the status quo in local government,? said Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. ?Louisville, Nashville and Philadelphia ultimately showed the strongest proposals to embed innovation in their administrations and to put their ideas into practice to address issues affecting low-income people.?

The City Accelerator allows selected U.S. cities to develop models for innovation that generate economic opportunities for low-income populations and help municipalities run more effectively. Participating cities benefit from ongoing interaction with leading practitioners from around the country and share lessons learned to advance progress.

Nigel Jacob, co-founder of the Mayor?s Office of New Urban Mechanics for the City of Boston and Urban Technologist-in-Residence at Living Cities, will lead the first cohort. ?Louisville, Nashville and Philadelphia presented unique and compelling visions for how local government innovation can improve the operations of their cities and make an impact for their low-income residents,? said Jacob. ?I am looking forward to working with these three cities on developing breakthrough ways of solving problems.?

Ten cities applied for the cohort, and six: Albuquerque, Denver, and San Jose in addition to Louisville, Nashville and Philadelphia, were selected as finalists. The six finalists recorded video pitches that were posted online at Governing.com for public review, comment and rating. The strength of their proposals, the alignment of their thinking with the framework for this first cohort, and public input on the finalists? video pitches were all considered in selecting the final three cities.

Living Cities will capture learnings from the work of the cohort for use by the broader field. The Governing Institute will provide ongoing coverage of the learnings coming out of the cohort cities and related innovation efforts in other places in a dedicated section on Governing.com.