URBACT day 1 – Cities of tomorrow – action today

I have just come back from the day 1 of the annual URBACT conference in Copenhagen. This year’s theme is “Cities of tomorrow – action today”.  And what a great title – because one of the key things we need for cities is for politicians and other decision makers to actually do things in cities.

I have chosen in this blog post to focus on the presentation given by the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen. There was a theme about us being “at our best and worst in cities” – which echoes the thinking of thinkers like Geoff Mulgan and Charlie Leadbeater (see for example the Breakthrough Cities report). Frank Jensen went on to suggest that we use this insight.
A key suggestion from Frank Jensen was that we provide all citizens with the prospect of a decent job. Something which I think is great. However, we need to discuss further how we create meaningful jobs in the 21st century and also whether we should rather nuture the agency of individuals to create their own jobs.
Finally, Frank Jensen listed three initiatives which can be done locally in each city:
  1. Partnerships – more work to be done around public/private/university partnerships
  2. Public procurement – social clauses in public procurement contracts. As a CLES board member, I think we should actually take this a step further and look at work around procurement in more detail to ensure that public procurement also supports sustainable local development. See for example: Procurement is the new regeneration.
  3. Social housing – in Copenhagen there is a target of keeping social housing at 20%. And there is also a job of improving the perception of social housing in the rest of the community.


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One Response to URBACT day 1 – Cities of tomorrow – action today

  1. Steve Green says:

    The job element is interesting and shows the problems of todays society. Few years ago at a North West Development Board (now abolished by Tories) meeting the CEO gave glowing annoucement that new investment to region: a mega shopping mall with thousands of jobs. Triumph. Local Vice chancellor/rector of univ said “here I am trying to increase knowledge skills of local students and you think it is a success to bring in low paid, part time low skilled retail and logistics jobs”. R Florida pointed out on twitter recently that in USA more low paid, low skilled, and many part time jobs in “logistics” than high skilled knowledge jobs in creative sector.
    So what type of job? and if cities afre in competition with each other what to do with the losing cities.. accept gradual decline as rural depopulation continues?

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