Join international town and urban leaders for a world first, taking place in Scotland in June 2016. Organised by ATCM, BIDs Scotland, IDA and Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the World Towns Leadership Summit will discuss the evolving nature of civic governance and the changing economic drivers for successful place-making.
Across the world, the State is shrinking. Urgent action is essential if we are to make our places better. What are the new alliances and approaches we need to develop to achieve a strong competitive economy combined with a fairer, more equal society?
Discussing this will be the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, leading on what a fairer Scotland should look like in 2030 and how to make this vision a reality. We will also hear from a range of internationally recognised leaders and thinkers including, Mayor George Ferguson, Bristol City Council, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO, The Cape Town Partnership, Tina Saaby, Copenhagen’s City Architect, international economist Michael Shuman and Michael Smith, Chair of the International Downtown Association.
A key result of the Summit will be the creation and signing of the World Towns Agreement: A Public-Private-Social Vision for Urban Centres – co-produced with the Academy of Urbanism, CLES and Architecture and Design Scotland. A milestone in urban development for the 21st century, the Agreement will be shared worldwide to help influence international authorities and governments, and to drive forward a new vision of civic governance. Contribute your thoughts here.
This call to action is now vital. Towns are a key element of global urban infrastructure. At the scale of nations, they are nodes of labour force, distinct local production and tourism. Towns, while distinct from entire cities, share many traits with urban neighbourhoods outside the city centre. Across regions, networks of towns connect people and infrastructure at scale. Towns and neighbourhoods matter to the transformation of modern economies, promising value; blending local and global opportunities. But, the town narrative is less well articulated than cities. Towns suffer. Transformation is stalled. The promise of a networked urban system, with choices, to support an increasingly diverse society is not met with the support and investment to deliver the reality. Towns are dealing with social migration at a scale previously even unknown to cities; the supporting infrastructure is not there and the response has been chaotic. Amongst the challenge lies opportunity. Across the world, towns and neighbourhoods are in this struggle. They are the largest scale for community, and the smallest scale for urbanity.
So, what can we learn from each other and how do we collaborate on shared areas of concern?
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