What Works Cities provides cities with ways to evaluate and improve programs and resources through data, as well as helping them to address social challenges such as public safety and affordable housing.
Through the initiative, Charleston will receive assistance from experts at the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.
“We are so proud to have been selected as a Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works city,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said in a statement.
Charleston’s initial goal in the program will be to use data to improve current programs related to housing affordability, but the city will also focus on bringing greater public accountability and improvement to contracts the city has, such as contracted garbage collection services.
Other cities chosen with Charleston were Arlington, Texas; Fort Collins, Colo.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. There are currently 85 cities participating in the initiative, with a goal of 100 by 2018. Charleston is currently the only South Carolina city involved in What Works Cities.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is a nonprofit that encompasses all of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charitable activities. What Works Cities was launched in 2015 to enhance cities’ use of data.