Moving the conversation forward

At TWIST, we love working with leaders that are changing the physical landscape of the city. Whether its private developers, non-profit development organizations or funding grant organizations….it is always inspiring to work with individuals that are changing the conversation about a particular community. That is what is so refreshing about CEO’s for Cities.

This was our first year attending the CEO’s for Cities Annual Meeting and the dialogue during the two day retreat was proof of just how refreshing the organization’s perspective is towards the role of cities. From hearing how the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is using Kiva in Detroit to transform access to venture capital for its small businesses to learning how Change By US is using technology to create an innovative community engagement platform, CEO’s for Cities is a community of leaders that are focused on impact, progress and results. Anytime you are part of a community like that…you can’t help but be inspired.

One of the best sessions was led by Bruce Mau (Bruce Mau Design and the Massive Change Network). Bruce spoke on visualizing the city of the future and using design as a holistic approach to growing cities. It was incredible and extremely thought provoking. He’s been setting the standard for design in the industry for over twenty five years and is a world-wide leader in design thinking. There’s no way for me to share everything that was amazing about the session, but i’ll leave you with a couple of quotes that were especially provoking:

  • “When you attach purpose to education, it is an accelerator. Students will break the mold and think outside the box…new ideas can’t help but squeeze out”
  • “Design is essential to cities of the future. Not just to business, but to every part of society. Where we have failed to design ecologies, we have trashed them.”
  • Imagine a city without art museums. We need to think about design and our cities holistically, like Marshall McLuhan’s quote regarding the explorer who asked his interpreter to see the art of Bali. The response was, “In Bali, we have no art. We do everything as well as we can’”

After Bruce Mau, how do you end an incredible conference? By having renowned author and leading urban economist Ed Glaeser speak. Glaeser’s session focused largely on his book The Triumph of the City and the history and background of urban growth and the societal trends that are driving the resurgence of interest and investment in the core of cities throughout the globe. His book is already in my reading que.

If we’re able to, i’ll try and post some of the sessions from the conference. But regardless of watching or listening to a session, check out www.ceosforcities.org. Be part of moving the conversation forward regarding our cities.

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