World Cities Network's vision and values

Written by Brian Kilkelly on 9 January 2013

Brian Kilkelly, CEO of World Cities Network, explains the ideas and purpose behind the organisation.

My passion is to find ways to create business that is successful, delivers fair outcomes for people, and maintains our precious planet.

These values were strongly influenced by an experience after graduation when I spent 9 months exploring South America. This included 3 months working with street kids in Rio de Janeiro.  Witnessing first hand the impact of inequality, poverty, and slum environments on these children made an enduring impact on my values and life purpose.

From Rio, I went on to build a career with technology companies including Apple, Ericsson, and Marconi. After a decade of international business development work, I decided to apply my experience to tackle social issues and joined Age UK.  I led a team of ten to develop corporate responsibility campaigns with companies such as Barclays, Microsoft, and Tesco. I then spent recent years with the non-profit Urban Land Institute working with leaders from the real estate industry and city authorities from across the world who are striving to find better ways to improve cities and develop real estate.

My technology and communications industry background made me very aware of the opportunities to improve the built environment through the incredible advances in design, availability of data, and ever decreasing costs of computing power. I could see developers, investors and city leaders had much to gain from stronger links with the technology and design community.  My belief was that a broader group of stakeholders in the built environment could bring new ways to tackle the pressing effects of climate change, resource depletion, and respond more effectively to our rapidly changing life styles.

This provoked an exploration with leaders and business partners to understand their experiences of the challenges of working across the real estate, design, and technology sectors. What I discovered surprised me in that the issues were much less about technology or design but rather about leadership and people.There was a deep desire for greater leadership of the built environment from both the public and private sides. People felt relationships between city leaders, real estate professionals, and crucially the innovative thinkers from the technology and design professions could be improved.  There was also a strong belief that new ways of partnering, procuring, and funding development projects were crucial to enable greater investment into urban infrastructure.

World Cities Network is the response to this need and opportunity.  It will provide a meeting space for leaders, a safe space to explore, and to learn. We will work with our partners to uncover the practical insights and tools to help make projects happen. Together we have a real opportunity to enable urban infrastructure projects to thrive and for cities to become more resilient, vibrant, and sustainable.

Do you share our passion?

Categories: Governance, Risk, Technology, Finance systems