YORK has reached the finals of a European competition intended to inspire innovative solutions to urban challenges.

The city has joined 20 other major European cities including Barcelona, Amsterdam and Athens as a finalist in 'Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge.'

York’s entry is said to be a proposal to revolutionise the way residents, businesses and others can propose new ideas to solve city problems, "providing a more intelligent way to acquire or develop the best solutions".

It is now in with a chance of winning from a prize fund of nine million euros, including a five million euro grand prize for the most creative and transferable idea.

The 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge is Bloomberg Philanthropies’ first in Europe after an inaugural competition in the United States.

Michael R Bloomberg, philanthropist and 108th Mayor of New York City, said European cities in this year’s Mayors Challenge had stepped up with bold and creative ideas that had the potential to improve lives across the continent and globe.

“Cities face many urgent challenges – from climate change to social isolation to youth unemployment," he said.

"We need city leaders to continually reach for innovative new ways to address urban challenges – and then share what’s working with the world. That’s what the Mayors Challenge is all about.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies staff and an independent selection committee of 12 members from across Europe closely considered each application over multiple rounds of review, with submissions judged on four criteria: vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities.

Finalists will next attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day conference which is set to take place in Berlin in June, convening municipal leaders from each city as well as leading innovation, policy, and programming experts who will partner with and push teams to strengthen their ideas.

James Anderson, head of government innovation for Bloomberg Philanthropies, said: “While the ideas are very diverse, we identified key themes. The ideas tended toward networked, distributed solutions as opposed to costly centralized ones. There was a lot of interest in citizen engagement as both a means and end."