Overheard at the World Economic Forum annual meeting…

Wed, 2014-01-29 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

We thought there were some useful reminders from BusinessWeek's report on the World Economic Forum's annual meeting held recently in Davos, Switzerland. You can read the full article here; below are a few interesting remarks from mayors and other urban development experts we thought worth sharing. And scroll to the end for a video with some meeting highlights.

  • Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri: “If you want to have a modern city you need to adapt and evolve. Every week cities receive hundreds of citizens that come to look for a job or new experiences or simply to have fun and they all demand quality services.”
  • Geoffrey West, a physicist and distinguished professor at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico: “From global warming to homelessness, from debt crisis to energy shortages, from insufficient water, name any problem that concerns humanity and the city is the crucible where you will find it bubbling away. But cities also represent our best hope for finding solutions to these enormous challenges since they are the cauldrons of innovation, ideas and wealth.”
  • Tejprett S. Chopra, the former head of General Electric Co. in India. Cities need to focus especially on the young. “If you can’t provide for them, you lose talent and can’t fulfil the needs of the people."
  • Architect Stephen Cairns of the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Governments should be wary of importing blueprints from abroad which had become outmoded and inefficient, such as high-rise apartments. “The vertical city seems to become the model we’re veering toward. We can develop grassroots urbanization that doesn’t rely on outdated models.”
  • Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau: “There has to be a long-term vision. Of course, you can change along the way, but it’s important to have a distinct vision of where a city is going.”