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Boston Vying For $5 Million To Improve City Life

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?


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  • J__o__h__n

    $1 million to lure Bloomberg to run for Mayor here.  I like Menino but Bloomberg is much more innovative and effective.  He got rid of smoking in parks.  Restaurant cleanliness ratings.  Trans fats ban. 

    • Michael

      Add his support of discimatory policy of stop and fisk against minorities and spying on muslim communities. Changing the rules to stay in power add in spending Millions upon millions to keep such power.

      Thanks but no thanks

      • J__o__h__n

        He isn’t perfect but at least he is innovative.  NY is converting old payphones to wireless stations.  We’re supposed to be excited over innovations like food trucks? 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EY4GHWHOZC24L22CFAKD63JAA4 Mary

    Find ways to make rent around here cheaper, ways to make Boston more competitive, such as getting rid of the ruling that what you invent on your own time in your house/space is your employers,, and loosening up the restrctions in non complete agreements which are nonenforceable in  California and hwich allowed Silicon Valley to happen there, and not here. 

  • Beta

    Private philanthropy is great, but it can never replace government-funded infrastructure and social spending. We don’t want a society funded only by the whims of billionaires.

  • Guest

    Composting! I don’t know that this is happening in any city, which seems so odd. It would be such an easy way to dramatically cut down on waste and would dovetail nicely with increasingly popular urban farming.

    • Emilyzola

       Boston Building Resources offers discounted compost bins to residents and non-residents (also water barrels and other eco-friendly stuff). The city of Somerville has a composting and rain barrel program as well.

  • Michael

    Bloomberg policies against minorities are well known and it would be sad to see boston follow in his footsteps. The guys authoritarian in much of what he promotes and I prefer boston not following the stuff he’s pushing esp in urban areas.

    Just another case of the 1% deciding what’s good for others.

  • City cynic

    Put the priority on services to neighborhoods where residents live instead of down town.  It is so obvious, especially in minority dominated neighborhoods, that providing services is an after thought unless you’re down town. It’s a small wonder people act out with violent crime. Who cares!?!

    • Ezola

       I don’t think you’re referring to the actual Downtown Boston neighborhood, which is a reeking hole surrounded by gun violence. Are you perhaps thinking of Back Bay?

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