By Antonio Pasolini — Municipal leaders, diplomats and representatives of the private sector got together in London last month for the Cities Unbound conference. Attendees hailed from different parts of the world, including Turkey, Colombia, Lagos and the Philippines. They discussed—in the light of different cultural approaches—how to face the challenges to create the city of the future. The event was organized by The Economist Events and its sponsor, International Finance Corporation (IFC).
As most, the human population is now concentrated in urban areas. Cities have become engines of economic growth; this calls for closer private and public sector cooperation to make cities more sustainable, inclusive and liveable.
The competition between cities as desirable destinations to live, work and invest was also discussed. For that, funding needs to be prioritised towards the sustainable development of cities and local governments should be empowered to take an active part in the decision-making process.
“The event has been a great forum for exchanging ideas and experiences and has focused international attention on rapid urbanisation, on ways to counter the negative effects it has on cities and their local communities, and on opportunities it creates for policymakers and business leaders?," said Tomasz Telma, Director Europe and Central Asia at IFC, who was a panellist at the event.
The conference was chaired by the Economist's senior correspondent Josie Delapo, and featured, besides mayors of several cities, Paul Romer, senior VP at the World Bank, and Bernard Sheahan, IFC's director for infrastructure and natural resources.
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Image credit: The Economist Events