By Data-Smart City Solutions • July 17, 2017

Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015, What Works Cities is a national initiative that helps local governments across the country drive progress in their cities through the effective use of data and evidence. Operating as a partnership between five national organizations, What Works Cities works directly with city leaders and staff by providing coaching and technical assistance, a range of online and in-person learning opportunities, and a growing nationwide professional network. To date, What Works Cities has supported over 150 cities in using data and evidence to better define problems and tackle pressing challenges, such as health and safety, homelessness, and neighborhood blight, in their cities. 

Any U.S. city with a population of 30,000 or more can join the What Works Cities network and access a wide range of support by completing a What Works Cities Assessment — a comprehensive data check up for local governments set against national standards of excellence for data-driven, well-managed local government. Cities that submit an Assessment also become eligible for What Works Cities Certification, awarded at the silver, gold, or platinum levels. By aspiring toward Certification and implementing the best practices outlined in the standards, cities across the country are better delivering results for residents.

As of 2019, thirteen cities have met these standards of excellence and have been recognized as leaders in the field through What Works Cities Certification. Nearly 200 cities have completed a What Works Cities Assessment and are a part of What Works Cities’ learning network. 

Data-Smart City Solutions is working alongside What Works Cities to research and share lessons learned from the cities that are leading the way in data-driven governance to provide a collection of case studies for other cities to gain insights.


Map of US with What Works Cities locations

Arlington, TX (2019 Silver), Boston, MA (2018 Silver), Kansas City, MO (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Los Angeles, CA (2018 Gold), Louisville, KY (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver), Memphis, TN (2019 Silver), New Orleans, LA (2018 Silver), Philadelphia, PA (2019 Silver), San Diego, CA (2018 Silver), San Francisco (2018 Silver), Scottsdale, AZ (2019 Silver), Seattle, WA (2018 Silver), and Washington, DC (2019 Gold, 2018 Silver)