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How the City Accelerator Works

3-year, $3 million collaboration to kickstart urban innovation crowdsources reviews of city pitches in selecting which ones will enter the City Accelerator


After months of preparation, the next phase of the City Accelerator is in your hands. The Accelerator, created to foster a more cohesive approach to local government innovation, is an ambitious collaboration involving a network of innovative American cities and, importantly, you.

It began with an invitation from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation to the 35 participating cities in the Project on Municipal Innovation (PMI) to pitch their best ideas to improve the lives of low-income residents. In announcing the six finalists in the first round in the Accelerator, Nigel Jacob, urban technologist in residence at Living Cities, said their responses to the challenge reflected a commitment to push boundaries, test ideas and collaborate deeply.

As part of their submissions, the cities produced videos to describe their ideas for addressing intractable urban problems. That’s where you come in. During July, you are encouraged to watch and rate each of the pitches, judging them on their potential to impact low-income residents, expand city innovation and scale to other urban areas struggling with the same problems. Ron Littlefield, a former mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., who now serves as a senior fellow with the Governing Institute, will be providing commentary on each of the city pitches during the month on the City Accelerator Innovation Perspectives blog.

Rating the pitches is easy, just like leaving reviews on Amazon, eBay or Yelp – simply give it a 1-5 star rating and leave a comment. (Feel free to share the ones you like with your social network so your friends and colleagues can weigh in too.)

A selection panel will use your input to inform the overall determination in selecting three cities to enter the Accelerator as the first of three cohorts to work on implementing their ideas. The process will repeat three times over the next three years. Municipal innovation guidebooks will document the cities’ experiences and lessons learned so you can replicate their successes in your jurisdiction.

You can do your part right now, right here.



Paul W. Taylor is the Executive Editor at E.Republic and of its flagship titles - Government Technology and Governing.
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