Public-private collaboration will define a new era for the cities of the future


At the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Urban Transformation Summit, which concluded on Wednesday, world leaders underscored the need for greater public-private collaboration to capitalize on funding for new infrastructure and address growing urban challenges around the world.

“Our cities and communities are changing before our eyes. Digitization is transforming urban economies, public health and safety concerns are tearing at the social fabric of communities, and trillions of dollars in new funding for infrastructure around the world have the potential to transform the physical environment, ”he said. Jeff Merritt, Director of Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. “Now more than ever, it is critical that public and private sector stakeholders come together to shape a future that not only works for the privileged few, but benefits all residents.”

“We have to be honest about what this moment in time presents to us and not discount it,” said Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver. “We have to be very intentional in our efforts and say that we are going to create a new opportunity that the United States has not seen and give the opportunity to correct the mistakes of some of the great epic moments in our history.”

“Climate change is not a distant activity. It’s real and it’s happening now, ”said Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said: “We don’t need more think tanks, we don’t need more documents. We need public-private partnerships. ”

The summit, which included both face-to-face events in Detroit and virtual meetings, featured more than 350 mayors, business executives, community leaders, and urban development experts from 38 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Asia. Australia.

It marked the official launch of the World Economic Forum’s new Global Center for Urban Transformation and spurred a number of new initiatives and collaborations to support the development of more sustainable and inclusive cities.

Notable results and commitments:

Two European cities, Stockholm and Lisbon, were added to the list of urban strategy dialogues planned for 2022. In collaboration with MIT, the meetings, which include events for the public and more intimate workshops, pair mayors and city leaders with experts and business leaders to forge new approaches to urgent urban challenges.

“New technologies promise to transform cities in a way similar to what the automobile did in the 20th century,” said Carlo Ratti, professor of urban technologies and director of planning at the MIT SENSEable City Lab. “That is why we need new forums, such as the Urban Transformation Summit, the City Dialogues that MIT will organize in conjunction with the Forum, to share knowledge and lessons from around the world.”

Eight cities in Latin America, Africa and Asia (Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Dhaka, Jakarta, Kigali, Nairobi and Rio de Janeiro) have designated neighborhoods as urban test beds for new businesses, products and services that can improve the quality of lives of local residents and mitigate the social and environmental challenges associated with rapid urbanization.

Following a four-month review of the main barriers to public-private collaboration in cities, Accenture has announced plans to work with the World Economic Forum and its partners to develop new resources and tools to help cities better coordinate strategies. site-based and accelerate community partnerships. .

Design Core Detroit will lead a participatory design process in collaboration with the Forum to design a fellowship program in Detroit. The design process will identify and map new opportunities to scale community-based solutions that will connect Forum’s business partners to contribute technical assistance toward achieving community-led goals.

Plans have already been launched for the next edition of the Urban Transformation Summit. The event will meet once again in Detroit, October 11-13, 2022.