Urban governance in the 21st century: Innovating solutions


Kemal Derviş, vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program, and Bruce Katz, the inaugural Centennial Scholar, examine the multidisciplinary, adaptive approach cities take to tackling public policy challenges, and other lessons for governance in the 21st century.

“Cities are obviously the centers of national economies, the global economy; they’re the drivers of global trade and investment and increasingly… they are the vanguards of problem-solving in the world around tough challenges like climate change, or migration, or social mobility, or even competitiveness,” Katz says. “In part, that’s because, in certain countries, I count the United States as one of them, national governments are mired in partisan gridlock, ideological polarization; they can’t quite adapt to the rapid pace of change or step up to the kind of challenges that we face. When we’re talking about these different challenges, they require multidisciplinary solutions that cross sectors, different levels of government and engage the private and civic sector.”

“When the IT revolution happened, people were saying ‘well, now we don’t really need cities anymore, because you can sit at your laptop and communicate with whoever you want.’ Exactly the opposite happened…Cities turn out to be extremely important catalysts for these, what economists call externalities of knowledge, knowledge-spreading, learning, and this is something that we see everywhere,” Derviş explains. “It’s one of the reasons cities also grow so fast and are at the forefront of innovation almost everywhere.”

Show Notes:

Project on 21st Century City Governance

The Metropolitan Revolution

Governing the modern city

After UNGA: The role of cities in refugee integration

Go local: Help cities pursue the new American Localism to break partisan gridlock

The case for constructive populism

With thanks to audio producer Gaston Reboredo, Vanessa Sauter, Basseem Maleki, Fred Dews, and Richard Fawal.

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