With support from the Rockefeller Foundation and in partnership with the Forum for the Future and the Economist Group, the Penn Institute for Urban Research convened the Future of Transforming Cities high-level meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, August 27-31st, 2013. The meeting brought together 23 thought leaders from corporations, universities, governments, banks, civil society and other global organizations and featured participants from more than 10 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the U.S.
Over the course of the event, meeting participants were challenged to address the central premise that many urban areas, in both the developed and developing world, are suffering from critical deficits in public goods that prevent their achieving resilient and equitable futures. Working in groups, the meeting participants proposed multi-sectoral and systemic interventions aimed at provisioning public water, sanitation, and mobility infrastructure, housing and public space, as well as increased economic opportunities and the legal and market frameworks to sustain these goods. Throughout, participants were engaged in future-oriented thinking around the trajectory of global urbanization, as well as the external trends (e.g. increasing climate volatility, changing urban governance structures, and increasing availability of data and ICT) likely to impact the future of cities. In order to structure this process, a web-based program called “Futurescaper” was utilized to aggregate and map what participants saw as the key drivers of change impacting the global urban future (see diagram above).
The Future of Transforming Cities was the first of four meetings in the Rockefeller Foundation supported “Visionaries Unbound” series addressing the future of cities, ecosystems, healthcare, and livelihoods around the world. Reports from both the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Penn Institute for Urban Research, along with other products from the meeting will be made publicly available at the “Transforming Cities” section of the Visionaries Unbound website. In addition, keep posted to Urban Link for Penn IUR’s final report.