Reimagining Cities: Exploring global trends towards a new (urban) normal
- Reimagining Cities, online conference series ©shutterstock_SweetJ
Online series of events | March-July 2021
Hit hard by what was revealed to be primarily an urban pandemic, cities across the world have been harnessing the potential of their proximity with residents, the private sector, and civil society to deploy rapid, innovative, and cost-effective solutions. Most of this innovation is likely to continue as part of a broader movement led by numerous mayors committed to boldly re-directing urban development towards environmental sustainability, social equality, and resilience.
Designed by Dr. Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, lecturer at PSIA and Columbia University in Paris, this conference series aims to engage distinguished mayors, scholars, practitioners, and students in a global discussion on the future of urban life in a post-pandemic world.
The five 90-minute conferences will take place on Zoom, with recordings made available after the event. Free participation upon registration.
1. March 16, 2021 | 6pm (Paris) | 12pm (New York): The rise of city diplomats
For a little over a century, cities around the world have been progressively building their own capacity to act internationally, to the point of profoundly impacting world politics. Yet, the role of city diplomats remains relatively unknown.
This webinar will offer a conversation with four distinguished city diplomats from Bogota, London, New York and Paris:
- Penny Abeywardena, New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs
- Leah Kreitzman, London’s Mayoral Director for External and International Affairs
- Andrea Laverde, Bogotá’s Deputy Director of the International Projection of the City
- Paul-David Régnier, Paris’ Head of International Relations Department
- The discussion will be chaired by Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, Lecturer at PSIA (course on 'City Diplomacy: the rising role of cities in international relations') and Columbia University in Paris. Co-founder of Urban Flag. Member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellowship Program. Author of City Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). With assistance by Aliénor de Thoisy, Sciences Po student, who will facilitate the Q&A.
Watch the replay of the event here.
2. April 8, 2021 | 5pm (Paris) | 11am (New York): Nations talk, cities act? How the pandemic enhanced the international role of cities
The outbreak of COVID-19 led to a hiatus in international relations. While the governmental level featured an impasse (UN) and harsh negotiations (UE) in defining a common strategy, the city level experienced a blossoming of initiatives aimed at harnessing the potential of collective intelligence, cooperation, and solidarity.
The majority of the over-200 active city networks deployed cooperative tools and platforms to that purpose, whose outcomes have been made readily available to the world.
What will be the impact of such an approach on the reshuffling of international relations that this pandemic seems destined to generate? Can cities stimulate a collaborative turn in international relations towards a more sustainable and just future?
- Nilda Mesa, Adjunct Professor at SIPA, Columbia University; Faculty member at PSIA, Sciences Po (with assistance by Lou Garcia, Sciences Po student, who will facilitate Q&A)
- François William Croteau, member of the executive council of the City of Montreal, in charge of the issues of smart cities, information technology, innovation and higher education
- Sami Kanaan, Mayor of Geneva
- Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, Lecturer at PSIA-Sciences Po and Columbia University in Paris; Chair of Urban Flag; Author of City Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)
The video replay of the event will soon be available.
3. May 4, 2021 | 6pm (Paris) | 12pm (New York): Reimagining urban diversity. The impact of the urban intercultural approach during and after the outbreak
As the COVID-19 pandemic reached cities across the world, diversity has emerged as both a challenge and an opportunity for city administrations. The intercultural approach, aimed at empowering minorities and unleashing their contribution to society, has provided cities with extra tools in responding to the outbreak, as well as in planning the recovery. This conference will address the evolution of political and social approaches to urban diversity, exploring their potential in the foreseeable future.
4. June 8, 2021 | 6pm (Paris) | 12pm (New York): Reimagining urban sustainability. The future of urban environmentalism
What will be the long-term impact of the pandemic on urban actions to fight climate change? While urban dwellers show an increased predisposition towards bold environmental policies, thinning financial resources might render the cost of green transition unbearable to municipalities. This conference will offer insight into cities' capacity to implement a green recovery and explore the potential emerging forms of multilateral, multilevel, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
5. July 8, 2021 | 6pm (Paris) | 12pm (New York): Reimagining smart cities. The value of smart technologies in a pandemic and post-pandemic city
Are smart cities safer and more resilient in dealing with the pandemic? How has this crisis impacted the global debate on big data collection and use vs. privacy protection? This conference will delve into the concrete impact of digital technologies in COVID-19 mitigation and explore their potential to boost ambitious urban recovery strategies.