The city of Phoenix was announced as one of the top 20 finalists for the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge. The Mayors Challenge is a competition created to promote innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life across the nation.
Phoenix was selected because of its innovative idea to transform Phoenix into the "Smartest Energy City in the World" by creating community-driven "smart-energy districts" that improve neighborhoods, reduce the urban heat island and maximize energy diversity.
The 20 finalist ideas were rated on vision and creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact as well as the potential for replication.
"Phoenix's innovation and efficiency strategies have been recognized nationally, and we hope to take it to the next level with this application. With our demonstrated ability to work with private-sector partners and residents, combined with our most abundant natural resource - the sun - Phoenix can become a world leader in energy development and sustainability," said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the City Council Finance, Efficiency, Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee.
Phoenix will now compete for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.
A group from Phoenix will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work with each other and experts to further refine their ideas.
Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to begin implementing their ideas.
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