Anyone who follows the city of Aurora online knows that this is one heavily engaged community.
Now, the city is one of 10 big-name finalists — including but not limited to Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando, London and Bogota — for the 2019 Engaged Cities Award, the international recognition program that elevates the work being done in cities to partner with residents and solve a diverse range of problems.
The award, underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies, highlights the ways city leaders are co-creating the future with residents and allows cities around the world to learn best practices and implement similar solutions in their own communities.
“We are more heartened than ever to see that city leaders continue to break down barriers to citizen participation and involvement,” said Myung J. Lee, Cities of Service executive director. “The 10 finalist cities show the power of working alongside their residents to improve lives and provide a model for others to follow.”
The full list of 10 finalist cities are: Atlanta, GA; Aurora, IL; Bogotá, Colombia; Chicago, IL; Flint, MI; Lakewood, CO; London, United Kingdom; Orlando, FL; Plymouth, United Kingdom and San Francisco, CA.
Finalists tackled challenges related to the environment and sustainability, health and safety, neighborhood revitalization, and more.
The 10 finalists were selected based on key selection criteria, including significant work with citizens to tackle a public problem, clear evidence of impact, and potential to apply their strategy to other problems and geographies.
Aurora is ranked as top finalist because of the efforts led the city’s Neighborhood Group Support Team to create and enhance the capacity of neighborhood groups and to organize community events that built trust between residents and police, such as National Night Out and neighborhood connection events.
The number of active neighborhood groups in Aurora has doubled over the past two years.
“Community engagement and direct communication are integral in strengthening our city,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “The dedication of our Neighborhood Group Support Team is unparalleled, and the commitment from our residents in neighborhoods throughout Aurora is the foundation for continued success.”
A part of the Community Services Division, the Neighborhood Group Support Team is staffed by Cheryl Maraffio, Karina Garcia and David Smith.
Representatives of Cities of Service and Bloomberg Philanthropies will visit Aurora next month to meet with city officials and residents. The winning city will be announced in October.
Last month, Aurora was named the No. 1 city in the country to live the American Dream.
SOURCE: city of Aurora news release
Neighborhood Groups Meetings & Maps