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Charleston Joins National What Works Cities Initiative

By August 14, 2017April 7th, 2022Charleston SC
Charleston Joins National What Works Cities Initiative

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg announced recently that the city would participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities (WWC) initiative. This is part of a large-scale effort to help cities use data to become more effective decision-makers.  The city of Charleston is one of more than 200 cities in 48 states participating in the initiative.  Charleston will be able to work with WWC technical experts to build databases that help address building capacity, housing affordability, and how it handles the contracting of services.  Arlington TX, Fort Collins, CO, Memphis TN, and Sioux Falls SD were also newly selected to participate in the initiative.

“We are so proud to have been selected as a Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works city,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.  “This initiative will connect us to experts at the Harvard Government Performance Lab and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to help us use data and evidence to improve our city services, inform our decision-making and engage our residents.”

How What Works Will Benefit Charleston

In conjunction with a consortium of expert partners, Charleston will be able to find better ways to evaluate the effectiveness of its programs and how to best use resources to serve residents.  The goal is to address a range of social issues such as public safety and affordable housing.  The city will also develop more effective performance management programs to establish, monitor, and keep citizens aware of progress being made to meet the goals established by the city government.  The first project  Charleston city officials will focus on is housing affordability.

The City Council recently approved requirements allowing for more workforce housing for individuals earning up to 80% of the area median salary. The plan sets requirements give new developments two options:

  1. Reserve 25 percent of their floor plans for middle-income tenants
  2. Pay a $5.10 fee per square foot to the city to help provide its own affordable housing.

In addition, Charleston will focus on managing contracts and providing more accountability to its citizens about how this is done, and any progress that is made.  The city will initially look at how to improve the quality of contracted garbage collection services. They will extend this evaluation to other contracted services provided to the city with the assistance of WWC data experts.

Source: “Charleston selected to join national What Works Cities initiative,”

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