March 18, 2011

The University of Pennsylvania Signs Partnership Agreement with World Bank Group’s Urbanization Know

The University of Pennsylvania, led by the Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), will contribute academic expertise in the field of sustainable urban development to the World Bank’s new web-based hub for issues of global urbanization. Convening a broad-based coalition of practitioners, policy makers, and research institutions around the world, the Urbanization Knowledge Platform will facilitate the co-generation of critical policy regarding sustainable development in rapidly urbanizing countries.


Philadelphia, March 18, 2011- Today, Dr. Steven Fluharty, Vice Provost for Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Eugénie Birch, and Dr. Susan Wachter, co-directors of the Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR), signed a partnership agreement with The World Bank Group’s Urban Sector, the central agency responsible for the World Bank’s urban development and sustainability policy. The agreement certified the role that the University of Pennsylvania and Penn IUR will play as partners on the Urbanization Knowledge Platform project, an innovative web-based platform which will provide a global, go-to hub to convene policy makers, public and private sector practitioners, and research institutions around the world in an open and collaborative process to address the critical challenges of rapid urbanization as cities continue to host an increasing majority of the world’s population.

Concluding the signing ceremony, Dr. Fluharty noted: “the University of Pennsylvania is very excited about the opportunities that the partnership will present moving forward.” Dr. Birch and Dr. Wachter added that Penn IUR is “not only proud to partner with the World Bank in the development, launch, and future success of this unique project, but also looking forward to the opportunity to coordinate and showcase the wide variety of research emanating from all twelve schools at the University of Pennsylvania.”

The “Urbanization Knowledge Platform,” (KP), which will officially launch July 1, 2011 in several places around the world, is a web-based portal developed and funded by the World Bank via its Urban Sector. The Knowledge Platform is envisaged to involve a series of knowledge exchanges that take place periodically between Practitioners, Policymakers, Academics, and Knowledge Brokers (such as the Bank) around the world—all of whom are considered members of the Platform. Topics for each knowledge exchange will center on the four core themes of Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Mobility, Environmental Sustainability, and Governance and will be proposed by members. These knowledge exchanges, and subsequent discussion and networking, will be conducted via cutting edge technology and online audio-visual meeting tools.

The agreement was signed during a visit by Abha Joshi-Ghani, the Sector Director for Urban Development at the World Bank, to the University of Pennsylvania during a day of presentations by UPenn faculty from a diverse range of schools, including the Wharton School and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Penn IUR and the University of Pennsylvania join a small group of premier academic and research institutions including Brookings Institution, MIT, and McKinsey & Company Global Institute to officially join the Urbanization Knowledge Platform as partners.

Seated at the table, from left to right: Dr. Genie Birch, Abha Joshi-Ghani, Dr. Susan Wachter, Dr. Steven Fluharty
Standing behind table, again from left to right: Stephen Sammut, Brian Spooner, Alan Kelly, David T. Galligan, James D. Ferguson


Media Contact:

Deborah Lang
Communications Director

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