Three Urban Innovation Labs explore ways to use research and data to inform new leadership approaches in American cities: The Bloomberg Philanthropies Partnership is assessing the role and the potential of Bloomberg Philanthropies' innovation delivery teams, which are currently operating in five cities: Atlanta, Chicago Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans. The Anchor Development Project is working in partnership with the Ford Foundation to assess how universities and medical centers can accelerate development in their home cities. The Mayoral Policy Lab project will field proven-effective reform ideas across the country and then work with local leaders to determine their applicability in New York-all leading to an idea book for the next round of municipal leaders to pursue in 2013. 


Bloomberg Philanthropies

In 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies began a three-year $24 million initiative supporting city halls in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans to identify and address each mayor's top policy goals through Innovation Delivery Teams. The effort is predicated on the notion that mayors are uniquely positioned at the local level to develop innovative solutions to some of our most pressing challenges from job creation to combating climate change. At the same time, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new partnership with New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the only school of its stature named for a mayor. The team at NYU Wagner is identifying key learnings across the cities as they develop and implement Innovation Delivery Teams and document and translate those learnings into resources other cities can use. Initial findings are being posted as part of a monthly blog with Governing magazine.

Click here or visit http://bloombergdotorg.tumblr.com/ for more information.


NYU Wagner - Bloomberg Ideation
Please click here for report on Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Teams' Ideation process.


Mayoral Policy Lab

Cities should be places of constant innovation–developing new, bold approaches to improve service delivery and drive the local economy. But more often municipalities from coast to coast are struggling simply to plug budget holes and maintain basic services. Election cycles offer an opportunity for new visions for the city.

To fully explore these visions and assess which ones should be built out, NYU Wagner will partner with the Center for an Urban Future to conduct a “Mayoral Policy Lab” for the New York City 2013 election cycle. In Phase I, we will scan the country and the world for a wide variety of path-breaking ideas proven effective in other locales and we will also assess what initiatives begun in the Bloomberg administration are worth sustaining going forward; in Phase II, we will test these ideas by exposing them to a cross-section of New Yorkers from the philanthropic, corporate and academic community; and in Phase III, we will further vet proposals through online forums and interactions with New Yorkers in every borough. The final product will be a well-tested set of recommendations that the next set of municipal leaders can use to tackle the most pressing challenges facing New York.



In recent years, the concept of universities, hospitals, and medical centers serving as “anchor institutions” in their local communities has begun to take shape. This anchor function goes beyond maximizing their central educational or health service delivery roles and includes activities such as neighborhood revitalization and community development. This project will extend thinking and practice by assessing why such development has not been more widely adopted and how the concept can be broadened to include other facets of university strength including cultural and intellectual impacts on the region and ways in which targeted research can be applied to local policy issues.

Beginning in Spring 2012, NYU Wagner in partnership with the Ford Foundation will explore these issues and assess what it means to be an anchor for the community, and develop a set of proposals that grantmakers and anchors can pursue to catalyze broad adoption of development strategies to improve the economic and social trajectory of localities throughout the country.


NYU Wagner Innovation Labs