Mike Bloomberg Praised Cities for Leadership in the Face of Global Challenges like War, Migration, and Combating Climate Change

Bloomberg Philanthropies Announced New Global Initiative for Innovative Cycling Infrastructure and the 19 European Cities Joining the Asphalt Art Initiative

Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv, Urged Cities to Show Solidarity: “We Have to Support Ukraine.”

AMSTERDAM – Today, Bloomberg CityLab 2022, the preeminent global cities summit organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the Aspen Institute, concluded its ninth multi-day summit in Amsterdam. The event, the first in-person convening since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, brought together more than 500 city leaders, experts, innovators, and artists from around the world, representing cities across six continents. In addition, more than 40 mayors attended CityLab Amsterdam from leading cities in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Latin America to attend sessions addressing challenges cities are facing regarding climate, infrastructure, technology, migration, mental health, and more.
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City, delivered welcome remarks that praised local officials for their leadership in the face of unprecedented challenges, including the pandemic and related recovery efforts. He also announced the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure, which will award up to $1 million to ten cities around the world for innovative approaches to improving cycling infrastructure. Sharing new ideas with citizens, he said, is “the mayors’ job – to open their eyes to what’s possible and leave a legacy to the next generation. Mayors can make a difference in the world.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patricia E. Harris announced the 19 European cities receiving Asphalt Art Initiative grants of $25,000 to undertake projects in 2023 that use art and design to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and engage residents of their communities. The 19 selected Asphalt Art Initiative projects in Europe include: 
Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam, opened a session on building public trust in the digital era, saying: “I propose to join forces as cities, and cooperate with our citizens, and tech companies who share our values, to create a new public digital space that promotes digital sovereignty.” She continued, “We need a digital city for the twenty-first century.”
Remigijus Šimasius, mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, said, “It’s clear we need to support Ukraine. Now it’s time for more practical steps. Ukraine is terribly destroyed, and it deserves a future with better buildings and urban structures. We have to help Ukrainians believe they can have an even better country than they had before.”
Mayor López noted, “As mayor, you have to be the manager of hope and delivery – you must deliver through collective action.” 
“Extreme weather events from a municipal standpoint will take partnerships, including partnerships working with our federal government on its infrastructure law, a once in a lifetime opportunity to get infrastructure right,” said Mayor Woodfin.
Following the panel, Little Amal toured the streets of Amsterdam with a procession of CityLab participants, residents, and musical accompaniment. “If you can give your empathy to a puppet, the big challenge is then to give it to a real person. It could be your neighbor, it could be a homeless person sleeping on your route to work, and it could be a refugee community that needs you right now. This act of empathy is crucial for our survival,” Nuabi said.
“We had many hopes for our citizens for our cities before 24th of February, but our lives were changed on that day. For 30 days of Russian occupation of my city near Kyiv we witnessed the deaths of hundreds of civilian citizens. The majority of our civilian infrastructure was destroyed. We cannot forget, and we cannot forgive those atrocities,” said Anatoli Fedoruk, mayor of Bucha.
Asked whether mayors should adopt crypto, Tonantzin Carmora, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution replied, “I really believe the technology and consumer protections in their present state are not quite there yet. Local leaders are under constant pressure to adopt new technologies, to adapt, to innovate, to improve the lives of residents and businesses. But if we start with the tech first, or the crypto first, the solution first, we miss out on a lot by not trying to start with the problem first.” 
“At a base level, the idea [of crypto] is about empowering people and enabling a community rather than a few centralized institutions or tech companies controlling things,” said Mark Foster of Strategic Advisory Management.
Noting the opportunity cities have to be first-movers on progressive drug policy, Ashley Kilroy, former director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, said, “Denver did this first with municipal charges. About two years later, our state did it, and now you fast-forward to now and the (U.S.) federal government is doing it.”
Reflecting on her role early in the crisis, Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology, City of Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., said, “We had no choice then but to build [a COVID-19 data dashboard] ourselves. And I think just looking through those times, the Chief Data Officer role was always of critical importance for Louisville, but it became elevated to a top senior-level position. We leveraged an incident management team structure to bring a whole of government approach.”
“We want a single data source for government. So Downing Street, as well as local government, as well as health, as well as research. So we have to gather data together for all those purposes. The way that we ended up capturing that data allowed us to create models that were predictive to actually say where it was moving, how uptake was taking, and actually forecast how many people were actually going to end up in hospital beds,” added Ming Tang, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, National Health Service England.
Press Assets:
Live stream: All videos will be archived at: https://citylab.bloomberg.org/.
Photos & Videos: Bloomberg Philanthropies photos are available for download and use here. Credit: Bloomberg CityLab 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies. 
We will make rush video clips and selects available from plenary sessions. We’re happy to provide photos from our photographer upon request. Credit: Bloomberg CityLab 2022 Amsterdam.
PHOTO AND VIDEO CREDIT SOURCE Bloomberg CityLab 2022 Amsterdam
Social: Follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with #CityLab2022, @AspenInstitute and @BloombergDotOrg
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
About the Aspen Institute:
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org
Media Contacts:
Courtney Greenwald
Bloomberg Philanthropies
Jon Purves
The Aspen Institute
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