Another Big Win for New Rochelle

Testing out virtual reality at the New Rochelle Street Fair.

New Rochelle was just awarded a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies through the “Mayors Challenge.”  We are one of only nine cities throughout the nation — out of more than 300 competitors — to win this award.

Bloomberg recognized New Rochelle for our innovative use of augmented and virtual reality to help guide community development.  We’ll now utilize the grant to develop an interactive, open source application that will empower residents to better visualize and shape the city’s growth.  This tool aims to enhance both the quality and inclusiveness of public input — and could even make the planning process fun.

I thank and congratulate the Business Improvement District and IDEA New Rochelle, who partnered with the City’s Department of Development on this initiative.  Great job.

With this terrific news, New Rochelle is really on a roll.  After all, it was just a few weeks ago that we won the coveted Downtown Revitalization Initiative from New York State.  Now another big, big win.  It’s thrilling.

There’s more here, and a full press release follows below.

 

New Rochelle Wins $1 Million in Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge

New Rochelle is One of Nine Cities Recognized for Innovative Solutions to Urgent Local Issues

New Rochelle, NY- October 29, 2018: Michael R. Bloomberg today announced New Rochelle as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge, a yearlong competition that challenged city leaders to uncover and test bold, inventive ideas to confront the toughest problems faced by cities today. Nine cities will receive $1 million to begin implementation on potentially breakthrough solutions to homelessness, the opioid crisis, mobility, climate change, and economic opportunity.

New Rochelle was selected as a winner for their innovative approach to improving citizen engagement through the use of immersive technology (ie. virtual reality and augmented reality) to clearly present development plans for new buildings and public spaces to New Rochelle residents- a process all too often steered by private developers. By developing their own advanced tools, the City and its stakeholders will be able to efficiently envision and evaluate options.

“The Mayors Challenge has inspired our entire team to be more creative, entrepreneurial, and collaborative,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.  “Our community will benefit enormously, not only from interactive tools that will help shape the most ambitious growth in our history, but also from the spirit of service and commitment to excellence that has been the hallmark of our interactions with Bloomberg Philanthropies.”

New Rochelle joins Denver, CO, Durham, NC, Fort Collins, CO, Georgetown, TX, Huntington, WV, Los Angeles, CA, Philadelphia, PA, and South Bend, IN as winners of the U.S. Mayors Challenge.

“Mayors across the country are tackling the big issues that Washington is ignoring. This competition is designed to help them do even more, by incentivizing and supporting big – and achievable – new ideas,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City. “Congratulations to all of the winning mayors, who represent cities large and small, in regions across the country. We look forward to seeing the results of their work — and to helping the ideas that prove most effective spread far and wide.”

The Mayors Challenge Selection Committee, co-chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns, is comprised of distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives, and social innovation leaders. The committee evaluated the cities applications based on their idea’s vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities to choose New Rochelle as among the nine winning cities.

New to the Mayors Challenge this year was a 6-month “test and learn” phase where each of the 35 Champion Cities received up to $100,000 and technical assistance to test and build support for their ideas. Cities tested core components of their ideas with residents, improved and refined their proposals, and developed a plan for implementation and impact measurement.

“Thanks to the stimulating opportunity from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its Champion City competition, our Interactive Digital Environments Alliance (IDEA) was able to assemble a diverse team of creative technologists, artists, planners, public officials, business people and community members to pursue using augmented and virtual reality technology for better communication between government and its residents,” said BID Executive Director Ralph DiBart. “We are grateful that IDEA New Rochelle will now be able to continue this work and develop an app and toolkit which will allow communities across the Country to access the power of these new immersive technologies to advance the ways that government can engage all its citizens in meaningful dialogue about planning the future of their community.”

The U.S. Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg Philanthropies-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). Previous Mayors Challenge winners include São Paulo, Brazil with a program to increase farmers’ income and reduce urban sprawl; Barcelona, Spain for work to create digital trust networks that support at-risk elderly citizens; and Providence, RI, for a program to measure and reduce the “word gap” among low-income children during pivotal brain development years. For more information, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org.