In the face of extraordinary change - MIPIM 2013

Written by Elena Collins on 14 March 2013

Cannes, 13 March 2013, World Cities Network, in partnership with Arup, held the first of a series of Resilient Cities leadership debates. Founded in 2012, the purpose of World Cities Network is to bring together people who understand the urgent need to accelerate the development of urban infrastructure and the necessary operational systems to deliver resilience in face of the numerous stresses that cities face today.

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World Cities Network at MIPIM

Commenting on the debate, Brian Kilkelly, founder of World Cities Network said: “Across the globe, cities are facing incredible challenges due to demographic shifts, resource depletion, climate change and the global stresses upon our economic systems. In order to thrive, cities need to become more adaptable, efficient, sustainable and connected – to become more resilient.”

"In order to even begin to explore the challenge of making our cities more resilient, it is essential that the best practitioners collaborate to share experience and ideas. The Resilient Cities round-table at MIPIM organised by World Cities Network brought together these leaders from several cities and from across industry to kick off that valuable process."David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent

Philip Dilley, Chairman of the Arup Group Board, commented on Arup’s presence at MIPIM and involvement in the Resilient Cities debate: “The property market is an exciting place right now, and as leaders of our industry we have a fantastic opportunity to shape the world in which we live, work, and play.”

Kilkelly led the discussion and was joined by an illustrious panel of city and real estate leaders, including:

•  Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council

•  Hannu Penttilä, Deputy Mayor, Helsinki

•  Mario Rubert, Director, Barcelona City Council

•  David Partridge, CEO, Argent

•    Lynda Shillaw, Director of Real Estate, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership

•  Jon Lovell, Director, Deloitte Real Estate

•  Mark Watts, Director, Arup Group

•  Rich Michos, VP Smarter Cities, IBM

•  Brian Field, Senior Economist, European Investment Bank

In the light of the unprecedented change now facing our cities, the discussion examined the way in which cities finance investment in urban infrastructure, the importance of providing a strong and long-term city plan to create a stable investment environment. It addressed whether further governmental and planning intervention will be required as a result of the challenges faced today and discussed what form this intervention might take. And, in a look to the future, the leaders were asked to consider how cities are likely to evolve to address the key issues of climate change, demographics shifts and resource depletion.

Kilkelly stated: “Within 40 years some 75% of the world’s population will be living in cities. This rapid urbanisation of our world is making extraordinary demands upon the world’s resources and we need to develop new ways to address these in order to ensure the long-term resilience and success of cities."

“At World Cities Network, we believe that through discussion and sharing knowledge we can better understand the extraordinary stresses that we face and work globally to deliver real solutions to address these.”

An example of the how city leaders are intervening to help improve resilience was outlined by Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council when he explained their new citizen engagement programme: "in our climate action plan we decided to offer everyone in Manchester carbon literacy training. It is one thing that we can do which is relatively simple and straightforward. It gives everyone the opportunity to not only learn about whats happening in the world but also help behaviour change, so people can understand what they can do differently to make sure they have got a better life."

A key theme from the discussions was the need to build trust and confidence between parties involved in city development. Mario Rubert, Director, Barcelona City Council commented of the need "to show that we have a long term vision and a plan to achieve this vision. If we can build all this together, we can send a message to the private sector which will build a relationship of confidence and trust."

Jon Lovell, Director, Deloitte Real Estate furthered this point by explaining “The World Cities Network debate at MIPIM underscored the importance of putting investment grade policies and opportunities at the heart of public-private collaboration. To truly unlock the capital and technological capability that is waiting to be deployed to improve the resilience of cities around the globe, leaders need to work more effectively to combine long-term civic stewardship with commercial creativity.”

Rich Michos, Vice President Marketing, Smarter Cities, IBM added "Resilient Cities are equipped with forward thinkers who embrace change and put innovation to work.  They collaborate across boundaries to form a vision, built constituency and transform traditional models."

Mark Watts, Director Climate Change and Energy, Arup concluded with"Resilient and successful future cities will be those that enable a higher quality of life while constraining resource consumption within ecological limits. It was great to see key individuals in a unique position to lead our response at the Resilient Cities round-table at MIPIM. Bringing together these minds from both the public and private sectors is important to help us make the decisions that enable our cities to weather impact of future events - both expected and unforeseen. The critical issue, as we discussed, will be how to foster a long-term approach that unites public strategy with private investment."

Categories: Architecture, Engineering, Design, Governance, Finance systems, Funding