BUILD is moving to the United States! The Urban and Regional Policy Team at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the City of Bilbao, Spain, are excited to announce the new location for the next Bilbao Urban Innovation and Leadership Dialogues (BUILD) convening.
The fourth edition of BUILD will be taking place in Detroit, Michigan, November 15-18, 2017. More information to come this spring. Hope to see you there!
At the inaugural convening of BUILD in 2014, GMF launched a unique forum for leading transformative change in cities that supports greater sustainability, inclusion, and global engagement. The diversity of voices and experiences represented at BUILD facilitated a rich transatlantic policy dialogue, while also focusing on the specific leadership tools needed to advance change at a local level. This combination of policy and leadership dialogue shaped two cohorts of BUILD participants and created a transatlantic learning bridge between cities on both sides of the Atlantic. BUILD 2014 introduced these themes and established a transatlantic framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges of leading sustainable, inclusive, and globally engaged cities. BUILD 2015, the exploration of these themes deepened by exchanging concrete policy tools and leadership tactics to move from ideas to action. At BUILD 2016, GMF added a new dimension to the exploration of urban transformation — the impact of the digital age on the people, places, and economies of transatlantic cities.
Theme and Plenary Overview
Last year’s BUILD began a conversation on urban transformation in the digital age that will deepen this year in light of new disruptive dynamics challenging established paradigms in the global political and economic order. Transatlantic cities have proven resilient in these changing times. While there is a greater urgency to respond to challenges at home, there is also an increased opportunity for cities to play a more prominent role on the global stage by advancing sustainability, economic inclusion, security, and democracy.
BUILD 2017 plenary sessions will provide a space for critical discussion on how transatlantic cities can rise above the wave of disruption to global leadership while delivering on a local agenda of sustainability, inclusion, and innovation. Daily breakout workshops will dive deeper into the frontline issues that are both shaped by disruption or are disruptive forces in their own way. In keeping with BUILD’s mission, the sessions will address both the policy dimensions and leadership practices to support participants in translating ideas into action. BUILD’s host city of Detroit provides a compelling case study of urban transformation that is driven by a people-first agenda, rooted in the city’s DNA of innovation, and is ready for global engagement.
Breakout Session Tracks
Flows: Sessions in this track explore front-line transatlantic urban and regional policy issues that shape the flows of people, energy, and economies.
How Autonomous Vehicles Can Improve Your (Urban) Life. With all the buzz around autonomous vehicles (AV) or self-driving cars, city leaders in Europe and the United States are in the midst of navigating how this technology can positively shape their city’s mobility future. This breakout session will explore two dimensions to this hot topic: how can AV support city priorities around mobility, climate change, equity, and safety; and what are the approaches to developing a city AV policy to support these goals. Participants will hear insights from local leaders actively shaping AV adoption and then discuss the opportunities and challenges of AV deployment in their own cities.
Clean, Green and Seen: Transatlantic Allies for Local Climate Agendas. Cities around the world are becoming pioneers in promoting sustainable development and fighting climate change. They are even going beyond nation states, with more than 1,000 mayors pledging support for 100 percent renewable energy. But can cities deliver as ambitiously as expected? What do they need to meet their ambitious climate and energy goals? To explore these fundamental questions, this session will cultivate a cross-sector dialogue of selected U.S. and EU city representatives and business leaders excelling in this space to showcase their leadership stories and experiences, while highlighting transferrable lessons. Then in interactive table group discussions, participants will be asked to envision, contribute, and reflect on their own experiences and tactics to dive deeper into the key themes of visioning, partnerships, and reflexive learning. Ultimately the session can provide guidance for local governments, business leaders, and stakeholders across the Atlantic to unleash their full potential to drive local climate action.
Inclusive Economic Development: Aligning Jobs, Skills, and Pay. The transition to an inclusive economy, society, and built environment in transatlantic cities has been a cornerstone of BUILD programming. This year we will dive deeper into the theme by exploring how metro regions can develop an inclusive and integrated approach to economic development that takes into consideration the intersection of jobs, skills, and pay. In this breakout session, the findings from data analysis conducted by the JustJobs Network that assesses quality of jobs, type of skills, and average wage earnings in Detroit and Bilbao will be presented and discussed as case studies. Participants will then pivot to an interactive discussion about whether (and how) the findings relate to their local context and then explore, from a transatlantic perspective, what role metro regions can (and should) play to not only harness jobs and tap into skills but to address stagnant wages. Inputs from this discussion will inform GMF’s new transatlantic task force on inclusive economic development.
Voices: Sessions in this track address the leadership and policy fundamentals of a people-first approach in transatlantic cities with a special emphasis on the importance of empathy, engagement, and collaboration.
Neighborhoods Rising: Civic Capacity as an Antidote to Apathy? The exclusion of neighborhood voices from city-level decision making process is an all too familiar reality in both U.S. and European cities, leading to apathy, mistrust, and disengagement from civic life. The churning in cities across the Atlantic over the last year only reinforces the need to strengthen grassroots engagement and civic capacity, especially in disconnected neighborhoods, in order to turn apathy into spirited passion for change. This breakout session will challenge prior thinking on engagement by presenting a new model of co-creation from leading experts in the field. Participants will explore the concept and its adaptability to their local context — indeed, can such a model be an antidote to apathy? Inputs from this discussion will inform GMF’s new transatlantic Vibrant Neighborhoods Forum.
Multigenerational Cities: Aging as Innovation. In order to thrive in the 21st century, cities need to adapt to and harness the intersecting global trends of demographic change and urbanization. Transatlantic cities are implicitly designed with able-bodied, tax-paying adults in mind, while the groups that have the most specific needs in terms of urban space — children and the elderly — are often not taken into consideration. How can cities disrupt their understanding of aging in the context of city space, economy, and society? This session will bring together experts and practitioners from Europe and the United States to share and learn about innovative and integrated ways of creating truly multigenerational and age-friendly cities. Through informed analysis and interactive group discussions, participants will explore policies and practices that can support aging populations as asset for economic competitiveness, a foundation for social integration, and a pulse for a city’s soul.
Joining Forces: Philanthropic Partnerships for Transformative Change. Cross-sector collaboration is key to advancing sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth in transatlantic cities. Yet, effective and innovative philanthropic partnerships that lead to transformative change are still too scarce in many localities. In this breakout session, we will tease out the intricacies of city-philanthropy partnerships using the unique insights from our BUILD network that includes leading philanthropic practitioners and collaborators. Through a facilitated discussion, we will leverage the insights and experiences of participants in the room to distill practical lessons and brainstorm about future transatlantic programming between U.S. and European stakeholders on this issue. To focus the discussion, the session will highlight the initial findings of the European Foundation Center’s work through their Funders’ Forum on Sustainable Cities. Working with the European Foundation Centre, results from this session will be published for stakeholders to support the development of effective partnerships that address persistent and enduring challenges in transatlantic cities and neighborhoods.
Labs: Sessions in this track dive into themes co-developed with BUILD’s host city of Detroit by challenging participants to roll up their sleeves, explore, and brainstorm.
BUILD Lab: Tactical Urbanism for Detroit’s Industrial Legacy. Today there are more than 66,000 vacant buildings scattered across the city of Detroit and over 6.1 square miles of vacant industrial sites. Too readily associated with conditions of blight and urban decline, high vacancy rates have led local governments to consider a “Tactical Preservation” approach. If managed properly, these innovative phased and temporary approaches can serve as a catalyst to reactivate sites and reimagine the city’s industrial legacy. This BUILD Lab session will focus on a vacant industrial property along the Detroit waterfront. Participants will tour the property and then participate in a facilitated brainstorming session to generate ideas for how to tactically reuse and reimagine portions of the site; inputs from the session will be used by the property owner in their ongoing exploration of reuse options. Participants in this session should come prepared to explore, brainstorm, and collaborate with their colleagues in Detroit.
BUILD Lab: Using Design to Drive Change. Design and innovation are fundamental to Detroit’s past, present, and future. In recognition of this, it has become the first U.S. city to receive the “city of design” designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNSECO) in 2015. One of the main initiatives is the creation of creative economy strategy to achieve sustainable urban development, social inclusion, and cultural vibrancy. This breakout session will feature a transatlantic conversation about the power of design as a driver of economic opportunity, inclusion, and innovation. Participants will also visit local creative businesses and institutions to meet with leaders who are exemplifying this work on the ground. Come explore Detroit’s creative ecosystem and think about how design can drive change in your community.