CNNMoney’s “Most Innovative Cities” list and the stories that accompany it are just a snapshot into what’s happening in America’s urban environments. In surveying experts, we heard about more than 50 U.S. cities — and the mayors behind them — that are championing creative solutions.
“Innovation” is often associated with the tech sector — new apps, wearables and robots that are shiny and exciting. But the heart of urban innovation is a desire to improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for the people living in cities. Technology plays a big part of this, but so do education, housing, land use, job creation and countless other economic variables that are fundamental to people’s lives.
Many projects touch multiple sectors — Philadelphia’s prisons are bringing in tablets to improve education; New York is installing wireless sensors to keep sewers from overflowing; and Chicago’s public libraries are using robots to teach low-income kids about science.
But it’s not just city government that is driving innovation. Activists, nonprofits and corporations are actively involved in revitalizing their communities — often in collaboration with one another.
Top 10 innovative cities
1 New York
3 Portland, Ore.
6 Minneapolis-St. Paul
7 San Francisco
9 Washington, D.C.
To identify the 10 most innovative cities, CNNMoney asked 100 experts in urban planning to name the 5 most innovative cities (with populations above 150,000) and tell us why they were innovative.
It asked for cities that were innovating in the following areas:
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Education & Healthcare
- Job Creation & Economic Development
- Housing & Land Use
- Sustainability & Resiliency
- Civic Functions & Use of Technology
See the full list ‘“ and their big ideas for jobs, schools, transportation and more.