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Amman among 15 Global Mayors Challenge winners

Jordan Daily – Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Tuesday the 15 winning cities, including Amman, of the 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition that supports and spreads cities’ most promising ideas, with 631 cities participating in the first stage.

The 15 winners are competing to design the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) introduced the “Amman is Listening” project, which is an online participatory platform with interactive reachability maps responding to residents’ needs during a crisis and strengthens urban resilience, according to a press release.

Winning ideas address one or more of four current issue areas in cities, including economic recovery and inclusive growth, health and wellbeing, climate and environment and gender and equality. The Amman project was classified under the equality and good governance category, and was awarded $1 million in addition to technical support and coaching over three years, it said.

Amman Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh stressed the importance of the “Amman is Listening” project, considering it as an online community participation tool that enhances communication between the GAM and residents, who can also partake in the building and designing processes.

“Providing reliable urban open data sources and indicators in real-time for residents is our highest priority”, he said, noting that other map applications “can not precisely provide such a thing, especially during crises.”

“We anticipate the maps will help enhance walkability and encourage people to navigate the city, meet their needs, and discover surrounding areas to enjoy. We hope to build accountability with this tool where residents can rely on it constantly. Help them understand and respond to any crisis through the city’s open data, reach essential services, and safely access them. Greater Amman Municipality will get closer to achieving sustainable and self-sufficient neighborhoods where residents can access services in under 20 minutes leaving no one behind”, said the Mayor.

The Global Mayors Challenge was launched in 2021 to choose and develop the most innovative urban solutions to recover from the pandemic fallout.

The GAM underscored that work with partners will continue throughout the project’s period and that the maps will be developed to become a reference of Amman in handling crises.

“As the world works to address the profound public health and economic effects of the ongoing pandemic, cities can implement innovative ideas at a pace that national governments simply can’t match,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. and 108th Mayor of New York City.

He expressed appreciation of the achievable plans presented by the 15 winners to improve health, reduce unemployment, empower women and the ability to potentially improve millions of residents lives, adding that “most successful solutions will inspire cities around the world to embrace them”.

For his part, James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies said these cities will pivot to the hard work ahead to implement these projects and collect lessons learned to help other cities adopt and spread their ideas.

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