A new global initiative has underscored the requirement for increased public-private collaboration to support the development of more sustainable and inclusive cities.
At the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Urban Transformation Summit, city leaders singled out the “unique opportunity” for public-private collaboration to capitalise on new infrastructure funding and tackle growing urban challenges around the world.
“Our cities and our communities are changing right before our eyes. Digitisation is transforming urban economies, public health and safety concerns are tearing at the social fabric of communities – and trillions of dollars of new infrastructure funding across the globe holds the potential to transform the physical environment,” said Jeff Merritt, head 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 does not just work for the privileged few but delivers for all residents.”
The summit, which comprised both in-person events in Detroit and virtual convenings, included more than 350 mayors, business executives, community leaders and experts in urban development from 38 global countries.
The event also marked the official launch of the WEF’s new global Centre for Urban Transformation and spurred a series of initiatives toward accelerating public-private collaboration to build more sustainable, inclusive cities.
“Now more than ever, it is critical that public and private sector stakeholders come together to shape a future that does not just work for the privileged few but delivers for all residents”
Among the outcomes and commitments announced at the summit were the addition of Stockholm and Lisbon to the roster of City Strategy Dialogues planned for 2022.
In collaboration with MIT, these convenings, which include both public-facing events and more intimate workshops, pair mayors and senior city leaders with global experts and business leaders to forge new approaches to pressing urban challenges.
In addition, eight cities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia – Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Dhaka, Jakarta, Kigali, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro – have designated neighbourhoods as urban testbeds for new businesses, products and services that can improve quality of life for local residents and mitigate social and environmental challenges associated with rapid urbanisation.