“We need city leaders to continually reach for innovative new ways to address urban challenges – and then share what’s working with the world.” – Michael Bloomberg – Bloomberg Mayors Challenge


The second Bloomberg Mayors Challenge challenged EU cities to propose projects in areas from sustainability to civic engagement. The five winners from this years competition were recently announced, with 5 million EUR going to Barcelona and 1 million each going to Athens, Kirkless, Stockholm, and Warsaw.

Winning solutions were chosen based on the universality of the challenges they addressed and whether the solutions were easily replicable in other cities. We use similar criteria when selecting promising startups, so we thought it would be interesting to look at startups that might help to scale solutions in the winning cities:

Elderly Care
Barcelona, Spain aims to improve elderly care by building “trust networks” among neighbors to provide check ins for neighbors over 65. This solution is great in that it will also create a stronger sense of community. Solutions like HomeHero may offer a technology-based solution for the elderly care challenge.

Civic Engagement
Synathia is a Challenge–winning solution from Athens, Greece, which has the purpose of helping citizens connect with and get their voices heard by the government. Startups like PublicStuff and See Click Fix are already scaling solutions to civic engagement, primarily in the US.

Cost Cutting with the Sharing Economy
Kirkless, UK, wants to help its citizens replace services no longer offered by the government by sharing their resources and skills with each other. This solution has obvious parallels with the many startups that offer ways to share existing assets, including recently launched TradeYa, as well as with services like MuniRent (who we talked with a few weeks ago), which allows cities to share underutilized equipment.

It would be great to see future participants working with more startups to test potential solutions to their challenges. The main challenge is not technical, but rather how can cities become aware of existing solutions. As Citymart CEO Sascha Haselmayer pointed out at Smart City Startups event earlier this year, cities report that they know about 5-10% of solutions available. Appropriately Citymart has been working with this years winner Barcelona, for many years.

A full recap of the winning solutions are available on Gizmodo.


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