For all of us who live in or close to a big city, here's a provocative idea: Mayors may be in the best position to offer big solutions, innovation and new ways to deliver services. Mayors have more ways to encourage change than community organizations, than governors or even presidents.
Whether you agree with that or not, it's at the heart of Michael Bloomberg's big idea: The billionaire New York mayor is offering millions of dollars in funding for new programs to solve urban problems and improve city life across America. Bloomberg Philanthropies is challenging mayors from around the country to compete for the money.
The city with the best idea — whether it's a way to solve health problems or improve education or fill potholes — will receive $5 million to develop the plan and share it with other cities. Four other cities will receive grants of $1 million each.
Boston is competing for the Bloomberg money and is asking the city's residents for their ideas.
In an era of tight public budgets, is this the future?
- Barry Bluestone, professor of sociology and political economy, director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University
- James Anderson, director of the Government Innovation Portfolio at Bloomberg Philanthropies
- Dana Conroy, urban mechanic in the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics
- Setti Warren, Mayor of Newton
This segment aired on August 15, 2012.