Smart City initiatives are popping up in cities around the United States nearly every day. From Newark, N.J., New York City, and Chicago offering free public Wi-Fi kiosks to Miami-Dade County, Fla., piloting smart lighting, transportation, and public safety services, cities are embracing technology in a big way.

Bloomberg Philanthropies just launched a new initiative to help reward cities for their smart technology achievements.

Two years after the launch of its What Works Cities national initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced its new Smart City certification–dubbed What Works Cities Certification. The What Works Cities Certification seeks to support local leaders in leveraging Smart City best practices, as well as reward achievements and provide a clear path to success, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Announced last week at Bloomberg’s second annual What Works Cities summit, the certification program encourages all U.S. cities with a population above 30,000 to apply. After seeing success with its What Works Cities initiative, the certification process seems to be a natural extension. The original initiative had the goal to help 100 cities by 2018 and 77 cities are participating so far–with 10 cities joining this year.

The certification process functions on a points-based system. When a city applies, its practices and policies are assessed against the 50-point What Works Cities Standard, which covers four main components: Commit, Measure, Take Stock, and Act. For each criterion assessed, a local government earns points that reflect the presence and caliber of each policy or practice, explains Bloomberg Philanthropies. The assessment is conducted by Results for America and industry experts. Based on points received, cities can potentially achieve one of three ranks:

Cities can potentially achieve one of three certification levels. (Image: Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Bloomberg Philanthropies also notes that it will only announce local governments that are certified, not all applicant cities.

This year’s certification process has a fairly quick turnaround. Cities have until May 1 to state their interest in being certified on the What Works Cities’ website and then the announcement of certified cities will happen this fall.

The certification process will run from May to this fall. (Image: Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Certifications will be announced annually moving forward. Cities that aren’t certified are able to reapply every other year. Additionally, Bloomberg Philanthropies requires certified cities to reapply at least every three years to maintain certification status.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs