3 June 2016: New charter set to be signed by international experts

Scotland is to witness the signing of the World Towns Agreement as delegates gather from across the globe to attend the first-ever World Towns Leadership Summit.

The World Towns Agreement will be a charter creating a blueprint for the regeneration of towns and urban centres across the world.

Specialists in social justice, town planning, architecture, placemaking, business and infrastructure will attend the two-day World Towns Leadership Summit in Edinburgh on the 15th and 16th of June 2016 to hear eminent speakers from South Africa, Denmark and the USA.  Experts from Bristol, Michigan and Toronto will also add to the event programme.

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO of The Cape Town Partnership; Professor Tina Saaby, Copenhagen’s City Architect; and George Ferguson CBE, the former Mayor of Bristol, will be joined by Michael J. Smith, Chairman of the International Downtown Association, and Michael H. Shuman, founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local living Economies as the Summit’s key note speakers.

Michael J. Smith, Chairman of the International Downtown Association: “IDA is honoured to be a convening partner of this summit for so many experts in placemaking and city-building across the world. These thought leaders will come together and create a charter, a roadmap for our work. This framework will support our work in towns and urban centres large and small.”

Phil Prentice from Scotland’s Towns Partnership said: “Many of our towns need investment to help breathe new life into the communities that still live there, but it’s not about throwing vast sums at them.  There are many things, and in many cases very simple things, that can start bringing new life back to towns both large and small.  Bringing public health organisations, business people as well the property sector to the table will start to unlock the perceived challenges we face.  By starting to take on the easy parts, then the harder bits will start to fall into place.  There needs to be a willingness and understanding of the various solutions, but the rewards are enormous if we embrace them.” 

The World Towns Leadership Summit is being hosted by the International Downtown Association, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the Association of Town and City Management and BIDs Scotland.

The Summit’s headline sponsor is international lighting specialists Fife-based Blachere Illumination with other sponsors including Stagecoach Group, Abellio and VisitScotland.

Phil Prentice added: “Hosting the World Towns Leadership Summit is a real coup for Scotland and reflects strongly on the reputation our experts are held with their peers across the world. 

“The role that towns play in creating strong communities and economies in every country has been badly misunderstood by policy makers over the last 30 years.  Much focus and investment has been made in major cities over recent decades, often with a disregard to the negative impact on the towns that have played positive and central roles for centuries.” 

The World Towns Leadership Summit will take place at Our Dynamic Earth from the 15th to 16th of June.

Delegates wishing to attend the World Towns Leadership Summit should visit www.scotlandstowns.org or call 0131-247-1424.


Issued on behalf of World Towns Leadership Summit by Wave PR Ltd. For further information please contact Jonathan Kennedy on 0141-225-0400

Notes to editors

Founded in 1954, the International Downtown Association is the premier organisation for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city centre districts. Our members are downtown champions who bring urban centres to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. IDA is a resource centre for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit www.ida-downtown.org.

Scotland's Towns Partnership is Scotland’s largest towns’ collective; representing and promoting the diversity of our towns and places, and supporting those organisations and groups that have an interest in or ownership of them.

The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) has a membership that spans the private, public and third sectors. As the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, ATCM has over the past two decades evolved into an influential voice for the town and city management community, and as a widely respected authority on policy, innovator of research, and best practice example of partnership working and cross sector engagement.  It is a not-for profit, mutual organisation, owned by its members, which focusses on the creation, development, and management of vibrant and viable town and city centres.

Business Improvement Districts Scotland is the national organisation for BIDs in Scotland, providing support, advice and encouragement to business groups, communities and local authorities considering and developing a business improvement district.

George Ferguson CBE, former Mayor of Bristol and past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, was co-founder of Ferguson Mann Architects in 1979 and founded the national UK wide network of practices, Acanthus, in 1986.He was RIBA President (2003 2005) when he was noted for championing the causes of education, the environment and urbanism and was appointed a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours for services to architecture and to the community in the South West.

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana is the CEO of the Cape Town Partnership and a town planner with extensive experience in managing and coordinating public-private partnerships.  An urban revivalist at heart, she has spent the last ten years with the Cape Town Partnership managing, developing and promoting Cape Town’s Central City as an economically thriving, creative and valued public and private space in which to live, work and play.

Professor Tina Saaby has been the Chief City Architect of Copenhagen since September 2010. She inspires, facilitates, advises and coaches the City’s politicians and Administration and has responsibility for helping define architectural guidelines and visions based on the City of Copenhagen’s Architectural Policy.

Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a globally recognized expert on community economics. He is one of the architects of the crowdfunding reforms that became the “JOBS Act,” signed into law by President Obama in April 2012.  Shuman is currently Director of Community Portals for Mission Markets and a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and PostCarbon Institute. He’s also a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). He is also an adjunct instructor in community economic development for Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Michael Smith is the President and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, which envisions and implements strategies and actions to drive the economic, social and cultural development of Charlotte’s Center City. Smith’s background blends corporate and non-profit experience.  He holds his MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and has been the driving force behind a number of initiatives that have shaped the landscape for the city in sustainability, economic development, urban neighbourhoods, transit and hospitality.


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