In today’s fast-changing world…

by | Jun 19, 2017

Phoenix Mayor Greg StantonIn today’s fast-changing world, it is not enough for a city to simply provide services and balance budgets. We have to think creatively and work together to solve the greatest challenges facing our communities.

That’s what City of Phoenix employees strive to do every day, and now their hard work, creativity and ingenuity has earned an important national spotlight. In May, Phoenix was named the Top Performing City Overall by Governing Magazine and Living Cities in their inaugural “Equipt to Innovate” survey.

Equipt to Innovate is a new initiative launched by Governing and the non-profit foundation Living Cities. It is an integrated, collaborative framework of seven essential elements that define high-performance government and empower innovation. The survey invited cities to work together, learn from each other and help drive better outcomes for their communities. The seven Equipt elements are: Dynamically Planned; Broadly Partnered; Resident-Involved; Race-Informed; Smartly Resourced; Employee-Engaged; and Data-Driven. More than 65 cities from across the country – including 48 large cities — participated in the survey. We were assessed on our capacity and competence in these seven key areas.

Several staff and community-driven City initiatives were highlighted by Governing, but the evaluators were particularly impressed by the potential of our Resource Innovation Campus. When complete, Phoenix will partner with Arizona State University and local entrepreneurs on this 80-acre campus to divert waste from our landfills to make new products, and profits. This is part of our broad “circular economy” strategy in Phoenix to avoid paying millions to haul our waste by empowering businesses to recycle and repurpose everything they can.

Already, one manufacturer is converting palm fronds into animal feed and expects $10 million in sales this year. And another company is finding new uses for discarded mattresses, diverting up to 160 a day. And the best is yet to come.

Governing and Living Cities evaluators also took note of our open budget process that solicits public input through 15 public hearings, as well as online comments. Our open data portal is increasing transparency by giving residents and businesses easy access to public information. And our equal pay ordinance and non-discrimination ordinance help ensure that Phoenix is an inclusive and welcoming city no matter who you are, where you come from or who you love.

This recognition doesn’t say Phoenix is perfect. No city government is. But as the award’s name implies, Phoenix is the best positioned city in the country to adapt to and anticipate the challenges that every city faces.

The top-ranking city in each category, along with the top 10 overall high-performing cities, were highlighted at the 2017 Summit on Government Performance & Innovation, which Phoenix was proud to host. This annual gathering brought together more than 400 innovators, public sector change-agents, disrupters and civic entrepreneurs from around the country interested in making government work better for local communities.

Being named the top overall performing city by Governing and Living Cities is a testament to our dedicated public servants in Phoenix, who are committed to working harder and smarter every day to deliver results to all of our residents.