Five cities are the first-ever South American cities to achieve Certification
All seven cities met new equity and outcomes-based criteria
New York, NY (June 21, 2023) – Results for America today announced seven new cities, including the first-ever cities in South America, have been awarded the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification for exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate program effectiveness, and engage residents. Strengthened in 2022 to include new equity and outcome requirements, What Works Cities Certification continues to set a standard of excellence for data-informed, well-managed local government. This standard enables cities to improve their resiliency, crisis response time, economic mobility, public health, and resident satisfaction.
Representing a growing movement of cities and leaders across the Americas investing in data and evidence to achieve equitable outcomes, the seven new Certified What Works Cities are: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Córdoba, Argentina; Fortaleza, Brazil; Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil; and Montevideo, Uruguay, the first five South American cities to achieve What Works Cities Certification. Carlsbad, CA, and Charleston, SC, join them as the first U.S. cities to become Certified under the new criteria.
“Under the new criteria, these cities have shown that they’re not just leading with data—they’re using data to make lives better by prioritizing equity and resident wellbeing,” said Rochelle Haynes, Managing Director of What Works Cities Certification. “Leaders from the seven cities join hundreds of data champions in our Certification community, where they will continue to grow their data practices, share innovative ideas, and inspire communities at all points on their data journey.”
“The Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification continues to raise the bar for policymakers committed to leveraging data to understand community needs and deliver on resident priorities,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’re proud to welcome these newly Certified cities into this fast-growing international community and see the use—and impact—of the What Works Cities’ standard of excellence expand and improve lives.”
A city that achieves 51–67 percent of the 43 criteria is recognized at the Silver level of Certification, and 68–84 percent is required to achieve Gold. Highlights of how newly Certified cities at both the Silver and Gold level are using data and evidence to deliver results for residents include:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina (Gold) reduced its infant mortality rate by 39 percent after analyzing healthcare data of pregnant women and using it to improve primary services.
- Carlsbad, CA (Silver) analyzed their remote work policy, which saved the City more than $300,000 in office costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 424 metric tons, and improved traffic for all residents.
- Charleston, SC (Silver) launched FloodStat to standardize how departments tracked flood rescues, allowing for a more coordinated approach to prevention and giving first responders a centralized data source to improve emergency response.
- Córdoba, Argentina (Silver) saved $3.5 billion Argentine pesos ($13.5 million USD) in just three years as a result of digital transformation work across 22 city government agencies.
- Fortaleza, Brazil (Gold) reduced traffic fatalities by 57 percent in the past decade with their data-informed solutions.
- Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil (Silver) used demographic data, resident engagement strategies, and an evidence-based community planning approach centered on children to address inequalities and poverty in the redesign of a vulnerable neighborhood.
- Montevideo, Uruguay (Silver) developed transit intervention plans for 10 “hotspot” traffic areas to improve traffic flow and help save lives, contributing to a decrease in its annual traffic fatality rate to 6.2 per 100,000 residents—half the country’s overall rate.
In 2022, What Works Cities Certification released updated criteria for cities to achieve recognition for excellence in using data to improve residents’ lives. The new criteria embed equity priorities and better reflect the evolving best practices of data-informed governance so that cities move beyond achieving only pockets of excellence to achieving citywide scale and maximum resident impact. Additionally, Certification is now requiring cities to show that they meet an internationally recognized standard on at least one of three outcomes: air pollution, the percentage of households with high-speed broadband subscriptions, or a high-priority outcome the city chooses that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).
In addition to the seven newly Certified cities, seven other currently Certified cities have achieved a higher Certification level and seven more cities have been re-Certified, underscoring these cities’ commitment to leveraging data to deliver on community-based needs. The seven cities that leveled up to the next tier of Certification include: Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Henderson, NV; San Antonio, TX; Scottsdale, AZ; South Bend, IN; and Syracuse, NY, all of which achieved Gold Certification. What Works Cities also re-Certified seven cities that previously achieved Certification: Arlington, TX; Cambridge, MA; Memphis, TN; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC, at the Gold Certification level, and Bellevue, WA, and Denver, CO, at the Silver Certification level.
The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, is the international standard of data excellence in city governance. The program is open to any city in North, Central or South America with a population of 30,000 or more. To date, 62 cities have achieved this distinction.
To learn more about the What Works Cities Certification or to take the Assessment, visit whatworkscities.org.
About What Works Cities Certification:
The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, is the first-of-its-kind standard of excellence for data-informed, well-managed local government. What Works Cities Certification recognizes and celebrates local governments for their exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs and engage residents.
About Results for America:
Results for America is helping decision-makers at all levels of government harness evidence and data to make progress on our greatest challenges. Our mission is to make investing in what works the “new normal,” so that when policymakers make decisions, they start by seeking the best evidence and data available, then use what they find to get better results. For more information, visit results4america.org.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.