The Transatlantic Cities Network (TCN), an initiative of the Urban and Regional Policy Program, met in Charlotte from September 23-25th for the network’s sixth annual meeting. Hosted in partnership with the Foundation for the Carolinas, the meeting brought together the 23 representatives of the TCN’s participating cities, including representatives from three new cities added to the network this year: Bilbao, Spain; Leipzig, Germany; and Providence, Rhode Island.
Through a series of site visits and interactive seminars, the meeting introduced delegates to public, nonprofit, and private sector leaders that have shaped the recent policy agenda in Greater Charlotte. In particular, the delegates focused on local energy and environmental policy, the changing demographics of the Charlotte region, and local entrepreneurship initiatives. The conference also included opportunities for peer exchange among the delegates on new and emerging projects in TCN cities.
Key visits included Freedom Park for an overview of local greenway initiatives and Hendrick Motor Sports to discuss NASCAR’s outsized economic and cultural importance. It also included a tour of the new LEED platinum Duke Energy Center building to learn about the company’s innovative approaches to sustainability, a panel discussion focused on social innovation and economic development in the entrepreneurial hub Packard Place, and a walk along the Sugar Creek Greenway.
This meeting was the first time that several new delegates attended, including Anne Sofie Fogtmann, Head of Business Development for the City of Copenhagen; Karsten Gerkens, Head, Office for Regeneration and Residential Development for the City of Leipzig; Tracy Certo, Publisher & Editor of Popcity in Pittsburgh; and Mrs. Teresa González, Corporate Director of Innobasque in Bilbao, Spain.
Founded in September 2008 and supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo and Bank of America, the TCN provides a framework for sustained policy exchange among a diverse network of policymakers, practitioners, and civic leaders, who are well-positioned to put new ideas into practice in their home cities. Participating cities in network were selected for their regional and economic significance, and are cities whose successes and challenges in urban policy present the potential for valuable exchange and learning. Annual meetings rotate between TCN cities in North America and Europe.
Through the TCN and its other initiatives, the Urban and Regional Policy Program promotes practical, hands-on exchanges and networking activities, supports policy analysis on pressing urban challenges, and convenes high-level policymakers and opinion-makers to inform current policy debates. For more information on the TCN and its activities, click here.
Photos: (1) GMF staff and TCN delegates at the Luski Gallery at the Foundation for the Carolinas; (2) Delegates of the TCN listening to Tom Hanchett, Staff Historian at the Levine Museum of the New South