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Boston's New Urban Mechanics initiative named one of top 25 in nation by Harvard

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  May 1, 2013 06:46 PM

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Jeremy C. Fox for

Downtown Boston.

A City of Boston initiative has been named one of the top government innovations in the country by an institute at Harvard University.

The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is among 25 semifinalists for the Innovations in American Government Award, presented by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“These top 25 innovations in government offer real, tangible ways to protect our most disadvantaged citizens, educate the next-generation workforce, and utilize data analytics to enhance government performance,” Stephen Goldsmith, director of the center’s Innovations in Government program, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Despite diminishing resources, these government programs have developed model innovations that other struggling agencies should be inspired to replicate and adapt to their own communities,” Goldsmith said.

The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics works to deliver an array of transformative city services to residents, ranging from enhancing public spaces, to increasing civic participation, to improving educational outcomes, according to Harvard.

The 25 initiatives were selected by a panel of researchers, practitioners, and policy specialists, Harvard said. The Innovations in American Government Award winner and four finalists will be announced in the fall.

In the list released Wednesday, the programs are presented in alphabetical order and are not ranked.

The Ford Foundation created the award in 1985 to draw attention to effective government programs, Harvard said. The awards program has since recognized more than 400 government initiatives at the local, state and federal level, as well as tribal governments, and provided more than $22 million in grants to support efforts to help disseminate those programs.

A full list of the Top 25 programs is available here.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
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