Transatlantic Cities Network launch convenes a meeting of U.S.-EU city representatives
From September 25-27, GMF launched the Transatlantic Cities Network (TCN) with a three-day workshop, bringing together for the first time representatives from 15 of the network's 25 cities. The representatives, a diverse group of planners, architects, leaders of community foundations and organizations, members of the business community, city officials, and policy experts, gathered at GMF's headquarters in Washington, DC, to collaboratively define a vision and purpose for the network.
The Transatlantic Cities Network, which includes 12 cities in the United States and 13 cities in Europe, is designed to facilitate the sharing of innovative approaches to challenges affecting cities and regions. The cities selected to participate in TCN include many "second-tier" cities and regions, many of which have been affected by de-industrialization in the past decades, and now face the common challenge of re-orienting their regional economies toward growing sectors like services and high-tech research.
The participating cities were chosen not only because they face similar challenges, but also for their regional and economic significance and because their policy successes and challenges present special potential for valuable exchange and learning. Thanks to the legacy of past industrial growth, many of the network's cities share dense infrastructures - from transportation infrastructure to cultural infrastructure - that are ripe for revitalization. At the workshop, representatives shared cutting-edge approaches not only for capitalizing on their cities' resources, but also for addressing persistent systemic challenges that face most major American and European cities today.
One of the key outcomes of the workshop was the selection of TCN's four policy focus areas: The Educated City, The Sustainable City, The Affordable City, and The Integrated City. Among these four policy focus areas, each TCN representative described some as challenges for his or her city, and some as areas of particular innovation. As GMF works with the representatives to build a robust online communication network, representatives (as well as visitors to the GMF website) will be able to easily access information about policy innovations from each of the TCN cities.
On the final day of the workshop, the TCN representatives organized into small groups, each focusing on a major policy challenge in one city. The challenges ranged from finding the best way to develop a section of Cleveland's waterfront, to generating ideas for re-energizing investment in Torino post-Olympics. After just an hour of discussion, representatives from each group came away with new ideas and approaches for the difficult challenges they had shared with one another. Between September '08 and February '09, when the group will meet again in Turin, GMF looks forward to introducing communications tools and online resources to continue the significant momentum generated at the launch workshop.