The city of New Rochelle is a finalist in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition from Bloomberg Philanthropies that encourages innovative problem solving and economic development.
New Rochelle is one of 35 cities out of more than 300 applicants that will compete for a grand prize of $5 million.
The city is working with IDEA New Rochelle, a public-private nonprofit partnership focused on developing a virtual reality industry in the city. New Rochelle plans to deploy virtual reality technology to allow city planners and residents to visualize development plans for buildings and public spaces.
New Rochelle and the 34 other “Champion Cities” now enter a six-month testing phase where each city will create prototypes of their ideas with grant funding of up to $100,000 per city.
Each city’s proposal was judged on its vision, potential impact and whether it could spread to other cities. The selection committee is co-chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and former Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns.
Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities. The organization operates in more than 120 countries and focuses on arts, education, environment, government innovation and public health. The Mayors Challenge is part of a $200 million initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies called the American Cities Initiative. It will provide funding and programs aimed at generating innovation in U.S. cities.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said the city is excited to work with Bloomberg “to refine an innovative tool that holds the promise of better urban design and more robust public participation in the growth and development of our community.”
The winning cities will be announced in October, according to the announcement. Four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to help implement its proposed initiatives.