Posts tagged with "New Cities Foundation":

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New Cities Summit dives into creating equitable, inclusive cities for refugees and undocumented immigrants

While the relentless narcissism of tech leaders is skewered in shows like HBO's Silicon Valley, the most popular digital tools are designed to help individuals understand more about the world and foster social interaction. One panel at the New Cities Summit discussed how (or if) technology can be used to create more inclusive cites by reimagining citizen engagement with pressing, divisive social issues like the redistributing the means of production, shared resources, housing shortages, and migration. The discussion, moderated by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design's Dilki de Silva, brought together Jenviev Azzolin, president and cofounder of PPLCONNECT and WeHost; Josh Lerner, cofounder and executive director of the New York–based Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP); Steven Ramage, strategy director of What3words; and Asif Saleh, senior director of strategy, communication, and empowerment at BRAC International ("one of the largest NGOs you have never heard of"). Lerner's organization, the PBP, encourages citizens, especially marginalized residents, to participate in local democracy: "Participatory budgeting adds concrete outcomes to participation," he explained. "If you come out, you can decide how to spend a million dollars in your neighborhood." Meetings are held in churches or community centers, and residents decide if funds will be spent on parks, schools, or city streets. Budget delegates take ideas and bring them to applicable city agencies, who then return with an actionable plan that the community votes on. Annual process, reaches people who are not online by texting information to participants. The video below gives an overview of the process and outcomes: https://vimeo.com/162743651 For all the dopamine-boosting allure of smartphones, some of the best tech for community engagement is, Lerner quipped, "something you may have heard of: Pen and paper." It's the most cost-effective tool for engagement, especially for individuals who may have limited access to computers and wifi. The PBP also has a text-messaging service to keep participants abreast of meetings and project updates. Building on the old-school thread, Ramage noted that Future City Glasgow did a pen-and-paper participatory mapping project and found, to the organizers' surprise, that some lower-income citizens wouldn't go into city center because they saw it as so different from where they lived. With Britain set to vote on a Brexit tomorrow, the conversation dove into how to serve under-resourced migrants to urban areas. In many developing countries, Saleh elaborated, migrants move to cities seasonally. While there, they work for 12 or more hours per day. Governments are reluctant to provide services to this transient-but-fixed population in cities like Dhaka, Bangladesh where BRAC is based. Consequently, it's difficult to organize and build community in these groups. BRAC started bKash, a mobile financial service, three years ago that lets migrants to send money home through their phones. Over 95 percent of Banglidashis have cell phones, but only 20 percent have a formal bank account. bKash, said Saleh, is "enormously popular, like a wildfire": With 20 million subscribers, it's set to become second largest mobile financial services company in the world (behind Kenya's mPesa). To Saleh, mobile banking gives poor people more liquidity, more freedoms, and thus more power to organize. Jenviev Azzolin's WeHost engages migrants on the her homefront. The Canadian service is an "Airbnb for refugees" that lets Canadian citizens host government-sponsored refugees in their homes. "WeHost empowers anyone to take action by signing up," Azzolin enthused, noting that a number of Canadians have written to her to say "thank you, it feels like I'm doing something about the refugee crisis." So far, 1,000 hosts have accepted some of the 25,000 refugees that have migrated to Canada. Families comprise the majority of participants, and are vetted by WeHost and oriented by a 60-person volunteer network before accepting guests.
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Maxwell Anderson steps down as Director of Dallas Museum of Art for New Cities Foundation

After serving for almost four years, Maxwell Anderson has resigned from his post as Director at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) so he can focus on his new venture, New Cities Foundation in New York City. According to Melissa Fetter, chairman of the DMA’s board of trustees, Anderson saw attendances rise to over 700,000 people per year while at the museum, raising a total of $40 million for the museum in the process. As a temporary replacement, Walter Elcock, who is currently president of the board, will be taking the role of interim director. Meanwhile board vice president Catherine Rose will serve as interim president. It has been a great privilege to work alongside the Board and staff of the DMA, and to play a role in helping shape the Dallas Arts District Foundation as its chairman since 2013. My growing interest in how cultural districts can shape cities led me to this new, exciting opportunity in New York City,” Anderson said of leaving the position. Anderson will now become a Director of Grant Programs at the New Cities Foundation, which started in 2010 in New York City. Anderson described the move as "a compelling new opportunity; the New Cities Foundation is among the most innovative, urban-focused enterprises in the world.” New Cities focuses on urban, social, and economic development. "Our mission is to shape a better urban future for all by fostering urban innovation and entrepreneurship. We do this by building and empowering our global network, convening events and conducting pragmatic research," the foundation states on its website.
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2014 New Cities Summit Calls for Re-Imagining the Urban Environment

Nearly a month has passed now since the more than 800 people from all of the globe who attended this year's New Cities Summit in Dallas, Texas, packed up their bags, and returned home. Each is now equipped—if the Summit proved its purpose—with a slew of practical ideas on how to positively transform the urban environment, or at least a more robust list of contacts in the fields of government, business, and urban design. For those of you who missed it, the New Cities Foundation has just released an ebook recapitulating what was discussed in its many keynote speeches, workshops, and panel discussions. The foundation has also produced a four-minute highlights movie (embedded below), which captures some of the enthusiastic spirit of this international gathering of urban thinkers and doers, which is now in its third year. The Architect's Newspaper was a media partner for the Summit this year and I was on hand to moderate a panel on the subject of "Mobility and the Urban Form." The panel speakers included Mark Dixon, founder of Regus, a company that sets up remote worksites; Alex Krieger of NBBJ and Harvard Graduate School of Design; Harold Madi, Director of Urban Design in Toronto; and Lorenzo Reffreger, Head of Sales and Systems at Bombardier Transportation. The discussion was lively and each of the speakers was very eloquent about their particular areas of expertise. Together they offered a variety of perspectives on the transportation challenges that sprawling urban environments face as their populations grow and offered a number of possible solutions. Dixon, for example, raised the possibility that long commutes may be taken out of the picture altogether by the sort of remote workspaces his company builds. Madi said that in Toronto they have found a carrot and stick approach works best to encourage higher density development. Krieger pointed out that here in the U.S., in spite of what urbanism blogs tell us, the majority of urban residents are not fleeing suburbs in order to cram themselves in 400-square-foot apartments. He also said that the automobile isn't going anywhere. Reffreger said that Bombardier had in fact seen an increase in urban rail rolling stock sales in North America, and explained how the design of rail cars varies greatly from city to city and culture to culture. Each year as part of the Summit the New Cities Foundation hosts its AppMyCity! contest, which seeks out the world's best new urban app. This year the prize went to Peerby, an Amsterdam-based web platform and app that enables people to share and borrow things from their neighbors—a blender, a bicycle, a cup of sugar—in under 30 minutes. Users post what they want to borrow and neighbors get a push notification that they can respond to with a single click. Upon receiving the prize at the Winspear Opera House, Peerby CEO and founder Daan Weddepohl cheered and announced: "The world is ready for sharing!" This is just a taste of the sort of discussions and solutions that were shared at the Summit. To get more of an idea of the quality and scope of of the discourse check out the Summit highlight reel.
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Q+A> Mathieu Lefevre, Executive Director of the New Cities foundation

This year, the Europe-based New Cities Foundation is bringing its annual New Cities Summit to the Dallas Arts District, from June 17 to 19. Eight hundred global thought leaders will convene at the Winspear Opera House to listen to speakers, engage in workshops, and take advantage of world-class networking opportunities. The Architect’s Newspaper is one of the summit media partners. AN Southwest editor Aaron Seward recently spoke to Mathieu Lefevre, the Executive Director of the New Cities Foundation, about what the organization has on tap for this year’s summit, whose theme is Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis. Aaron Seward: Let's start by getting some background on the New Cities Summit. What is it? Why did it start? And what does it hope to achieve? Mathieu Lefevre: The New Cities Summit started when the New Cities Foundation was set up, in 2010. It’s a non-profit whose mission is to make cities better. The event is aimed at shaping the global conversation and adding to the creative thought leadership surrounding how to shape what we are calling the Century of Cities. We held the first summit in 2012 in Paris; then we went to São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013; and this year we’re coming to Texas. Why has the summit decided to come to Dallas this year? First of all, there is often a herd mentality when it comes to these events. They tend to happen in very similar cities, like New York or Singapore. We’ve always wanted to go to unexplored terrain, to find cities that are full of potential but are facing major challenges. And that’s why we’re interested in Dallas. It’s one of the most dynamic cities in the world. I read somewhere that the GDP of Dallas is larger than that of the United Arab Emirates with all their oil. As much media reporting has covered in recent weeks, it’s extraordinary in terms of its economy and diversity of jobs, but it also faces a lot of challenges. Traffic, for example, is a major issue in this extremely car-dependent city, though that is slowly changing. I also like that Dallas is a place that is eager to tell its story again. That was our inspiration for the theme of this year’s summit: Re-imaging Cities. The theme came from conversations we had in Dallas, and I’m interested in bringing our community there because it’s a city that most of them don’t know. The summit will be held in the Dallas Arts District. Why this choice of location? What is the relationship between culture and the subject matter discussed at the summit? The first reason is that it’s a spectacular venue. The participants are going to be absolutely wowed by the arts district as an emerging neighborhood, but also by the building itself, the Winspear Opera House (Foster + Partners, 2009). More broadly, many cities around the world—like Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Dallas, and other cities in North America— are betting on culture as a transformative strategy. Dallas is attempting to tell its story again, and to re-imagine itself, partly through its Arts District. I’m a Parisian. I’m sorry to say I had no idea that there was this kind of culture in Texas. Between the Dallas Arts District—the Winspear and the other cultural facilities on that street—and what’s going on in Fort Worth, that’s world-class cultural facilities. The mayors of Fort Worth and Dallas will be on hand to speak. What other notable figures are participating in the summit? What I’m really excited about and very proud of is the combination of well known visible figures that come and share their wisdom and insights. We’ve got seven or eight mayors, from Spain, Asia, Africa, and North America of course. Also we’ve got very well known figures, like the architect Daniel Libeskind; the CEO of Bombardier, Lutz Bertling; the CEO of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Sean Donohue; and the executive director of the Mori Foundation, Hiroo Ichikawa, which is one of the most powerful organizations in Japan. We’ve got some great young leaders coming, like Aaron Hurst of the Taproot Foundation & Imperative; and the contemporary Chinese artist Huang Rui. Then there are the speakers from our WhatWorks series, who each get six minutes to tell us about a project that has worked in their city. And of course we’ve got our three AppMyCity! finalists. We’re really excited about meeting the creators of these apps. There is one called Djump, a peer-to-peer car sharing service; one called Peerby that allows people to share household items, like blenders or anything else; and then there’s Social Cyclist, from New York, an app that encourages users to offer preferred bike routes. What are some of the key topics that will be discussed? We’re going to map out a future of what we call the Century of Cities: What are the 10 drivers that are going to shape the future of cities? Then we have more technical and pragmatic sessions: How can technology help cities reach their green targets? We’re going to look at emerging concepts in urban design, such as happiness, wellness, and the shared economy. These are just starting to emerge, and we’re going to explore them with many of the people who helped start them. We’re going to talk about mobility. We’re going to talk about entrepreneurship. We’re going to talk about the role of the airport in city strategy. Were going to talk about where the money is going to come from. We’re going to talk about participation, transparency, and citizen engagement in urban democracy. We’re going to talk about healthcare. Of course, a lot of the conversation is going to happen outside of our programs, in the interactions between our many invited attendees. When you bring 800 people from around the world together who have a passion about cities it’s going to result in stimulating creative conversation. I hope it will have tangible results for Dallas and other cities around the world.