São Paulo Scores Grand Prize in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

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São Paulo Scores Grand Prize in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

The Brazilian megacity triumphed over urban innovation projects from Colombia, Chile, and Mexico to take home top honors from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Being the largest, most sprawling city in Latin America has its advantages and disadvantages. Farmers who live on the fringes of São Paulo know this profoundly: On one hand, they have a market of more than 20 million potential buyers. On the other, it can be difficult for them to reach those buyers, a predicament worsened by ongoing city growth and environmental problems like lack of water.

But a new initiative proposed by city government could lend these struggling farmers a hand. As part of this year’s Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, the Brazilian megacity drafted a proposal for a digital interchange platform designed to connect vendors with restaurants, markets, and other retailers in an effort to make it easier for them to sell their wares. On Wednesday, São Paulo’s proposal was named the winner of the third ever Mayors Challenge, which gives it a $5 million cash prize to implement the idea.

São Paulo took the grand prize out of a field of 900 original participants from throughout Latin America. But it won’t be the only one to take home a cash prize: Four other cities will also receive $1 million each to implement their respective proposals. The winners include two Colombian cities, Medellín and Bogotá, as well as Santiago, Chile, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Colombian capital of Bogotá proposed a project meant to improve children’s transportation to and from school. That daily commute can take more than an hour for many children, mainly because of nightmarish traffic. The idea is to create separate lanes just for school buses during school-commute hours, and implement learning activities children can partake in during the travel time. […]