Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded its 2014 Mayors Challenge to Barcelona, selecting its plan to deal with the problems of an ageing population over the proposals of 20 other European cities shortlisted earlier this year. The award, developed to promote the most creative and transferable solutions to intractable social problems such as public health, unemployment and transportation, carries a €5 million prize for Barcelona to put toward implementing the plan. In addition, four runners-up - Athens, Kirklees, Stockholm and Warsaw - will also receive €1 million each for their own plans.
"To meet the biggest challenges of the 21st century, city leaders must think creatively and be unafraid to try new things – and the Mayors Challenge is designed to help them do that," said Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Read on after the break to learn more about the proposals of Barcelona and the four runners-up
By 2040, it is predicted that a quarter of Barcelona’s population will be over 65. To address the challenges of an ageing population, Barcelona has proposed implementing both digital and low-tech strategies to create a “Trust Network” of family, friends, neighbors, social workers, and volunteers for each elderly resident - enabling the city to identify gaps in healthcare, coordinate support and ultimately promote quality of life for its elderly population.
The economic crisis has had a devastating effect in Greece and created a number of problems which need addressing. The proposal by Athens is to create an online platform which encourages civic engagement among citizens, in the hope that a collaboration between government and citizens will improve these issues.
Runner Up: Kirklees, UK
In response to severe budget cuts from the national government, Kirklees aims to offset the damage caused by encouraging the local ‘sharing economy’, with a new online platform that helps people borrow or trade their unwanted possessions.
Stockholm wants to encourage sustainability by creating, along with its residents, ‘Biochar’, a substance which encourages tree growth, purifies water runoff and sequesters carbon.
To improve accessibility to visually impaired residents, Warsaw proposes beacons across the city which communicate with smartphone apps and help the blind navigate.