Three ground-breaking public-private collaborations which have made a difference to cities around the world have been recognized at the World Economic Forum’s Urban Transformation Summit.
More than 200 leaders from government, business, and civil society, from over 25 countries gathered in Detroit at the summit, to discuss ways to accelerate urban prosperity and resilience in cities.
The collaborations in Toronto, Canada, Sønderborg, Denmark, and Belgrade, Serbia, which focused on social housing, carbon emissions reduction, and waste-to-energy solutions, were recognized as models for other cities around the world.
Speaking at the summit, Jed Kolko, Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs of the United States, warned: “Cities face new challenges as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.”
Jeff Merritt, the Forum’s Head of Urban Transformation, said: “In the face of these challenges, new alliances are emerging as governments and business leaders take decisive action to diversify and nurture local economies, fortify urban infrastructure, enhance city services, and invest in innovative new solutions.”
A new global initiative designed to catalyze new forms of public-private collaboration and support urban innovation has already begun in San Francisco, Detroit and Ottawa and will expand to other global cities where urban innovation hubs are key to economic development.
The World Economic Forum’s Alliance for Urban Innovation will connect urban innovators and entrepreneurs to new markets, while also helping to build more resilient local economies.
The inaugural co-chairs for the Alliance are Bedrock, a Detroit-based real estate firm, and Invest Ottawa, the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Ottawa.
San Francisco, whose business district has struggled to rebound post-pandemic, is serving as a test case for driving investment into local innovation ecosystems.
It comes after the Forum teamed up with Deloitte, Salesforce, Citi and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce earlier this year to launch the Yes San Francisco (Yes SF) Urban Sustainability Challenge – to help revitalize the city.
London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco, said: “Like any major city, we have our challenges but we have to look at the change happening around us not as a reason to despair but as an opportunity to dream and think bigger.”
Local government councils in England are facing a growing financial gap that poses a threat to services in towns and cities. The Local Government Association (LGA) warned the funding shortfall is estimated to be £4 billion over the next two years – up a third from July due to updated inflation forecasts. Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, declared bankruptcy in September.
China’s property market continues to struggle despite government efforts to stimulate growth, as homebuyers remain hesitant due to economic uncertainty. Despite a brief surge in activity in major cities, such as Beijing and Shenzhen, property developers and agents report ongoing softness in the market.
Countries including China, India, and the United States are among those being asked to commit to the Global Cooling Pledge at COP28, to reduce cooling-related emissions by a minimum of 68%, according to Reuters.
Honda Motor has announced plans to establish a driverless ride joint venture in Japan, with General Motors and Cruise, by early 2026. Currently Cruise, the robotaxi unit of GM, provides driverless ride services in San Francisco, along with Alphabet’s Waymo.
Billions of people could face life-threatening conditions due to rising temperatures, particularly in major cities like Delhi and Shanghai, according to research. The report warns that even areas like the U.S. Midwest could experience lethal combinations of heat and humidity.
The Data for the City of Tomorrow report highlighted that in 2023, around 56% of the world is urbanized. Almost 65% of people use the internet. Soon, 75% of the world’s jobs will require digital skills.
The World Economic Forum’s Centre for Urban Transformation is at the forefront of advancing public-private collaboration in cities. It enables more resilient and future-ready communities and local economies through green initiatives and the ethical use of data.
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