Bloomberg Challenge

Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge

Project Overview & Test 1

The City of Miami Beach has been recognized and selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of 35 Champion Cities in the 2018 Mayor’s Challenge! The Challenge is designed to help cities create innovative and scalable solutions to today’s toughest problems.

The innovative idea that the City will be testing is a new and integrated data tool to reduce uncertainty and damage from weather and climate. The tool will combine weather and tidal data, and rely on an integrated centralized data operations system. The tool will lead to a better understanding of flooding, allowing residents and employees to make better short and long-term decisions.  Flooding may occur from major rainfall and King Tides.

For the first phase of the project, the City is participating in a pilot program to test and refine the flood alert idea. The Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge allows us to create a prototype and test it before developing a final product. In simple terms, a prototype is a preliminary model of the final product. Prototype tests will provide us with great feedback, and help us refine our idea to get it ready for a final application in August.  One City will receive $5 million dollars, and four cities will receive $1 million to implement their ideas.

Prototype Test 1 – April 6th.

On April 6th, the City of Miami Beach conducted the first Prototype Test with employees and business owners who will be co-creators of the flood alert tool. The test consisted of a number of questions in the format of scenario cards about how participants have reacted to flooding in the past and what kind of information would help them make better short and long-term decisions about flooding.  Staff members from Bloomberg attended the test to provide feedback to the City on how to process the input received during the test and next steps for developing the tool.

Prototype Test 2 – June 4th and June 5th

The City of Miami Beach conducted the second test along with City of Miami on June 4th and June 5th.  This time the City tested the flood alert tool with employees, City of Miami residents and business owners from Miami Beach.  The test was presented as a wire frame showing the main features of the tool such as flood alert notification, alternatives allowing users to stay safe during flooding, a map simulating potential flooded areas, and a set of incident reporting options. Users testing the tool were able to flip through the flood alert visuals on an iPad and tell the City what features are valuable and what could be improved for the next prototype.  Bloomberg representatives attended the testing sessions to guide both cities in the process of gathering feedback and working together as partners.

As we move forward with test three, we will keep the following takeaways from test two in mind:

  • Participants testing the wire frame showed a desire for the flood alert tool to integrate into other platforms (such as Waze or Google) as well as including links to related information such as public transportation, weather sites, traffic and routing, communication sources and social media  (Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter.)
  • Understanding the severity of flooding is important to users.  Distinguishing between minor, moderate and major levels of flooding would allow users to take the necessary measures to stay safe.
  • The options displayed on the tool showing users what to do during flood events were well-received, and these should be fully developed and listed according to priority level.

The next testing phase will take place on the following days and times.  You are invited to participate!




Read news and updates on the Mayor’s Challenge by following #MayorsChallenge @BloombergCities @MiamiBeachNews and @CityofMiami on Twitter.

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