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Cities of Tomorrow: Framing the Future

Barcelona, Spain | October 8-10, 2012
p. 337-338

Cities of Tomorrow: Framing the Future has been selected as the focal topic for the 6th Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium to be held in Barcelona, Spain from October 8-10, 2012. The Symposium is being organized by the World Bank as part of the activities under the Urbanization Knowledge Platform in conjunction with the City of Barcelona, and some key partners.

URKS6 is part of a broader analytic and evidence-based research program conducted by the World Bank and its network of partners. Previous Urban Research Symposia have been designed to stimulate the production and dissemination of urban-city research with emphasis on practical application that can help policy-making in developing countries.

Launched in 2002, the Symposium provides a global forum for researchers from developed and developing countries to share research and results, as well as to identify and discuss urban themes that are most pertinent from both research and policymaking perspectives. While following the traditional Symposia format, URKS6 features several innovations:

  • it will initiate a process to inform policy choices that can help policymakers manage potential economic efficiency, environmental sustainability and social equity trade-offs associated with rapid urbanization;

  • it will attract ongoing evidence-based analytic work from developing and developed countries to highlight (if and) how urbanization challenges and feasible policy options vary across levels of development and institutional capacities;

  • it will showcase practitioner-led innovations that have helped in economic and social transformation of cities;

  • it will develop an evidence-based longer term research program to identify new urbanization challenges and strategies over the horizon.

The Concept Note of the 6th Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium (available at www.urbanknowledge.org/urks6) provides further background on the Symposium’s objectives and modalities. The URKS6 is expected to attract over 1,000 participants.

Analytic Clusters

The research questions under each Analytic Cluster should be approached in an inter-disciplinary manner to illuminate the three knowledge dimensions of,
Research - urban knowledge/research gaps and frontier research; Policy – current public policy debates, gaps and innovations; and/or Practice – transformative practices, gaps and evidence-based approaches adaptable to various contexts.

The 3 Analytic Clusters are,

  • Economic Structure: how to effectively understand the opportunities and threats of the systems of cities, and maximize cities’ comparative advantages in a positive sum game that contributes to local and national objectives of job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship;

  • Social Structure: how to effectively address the social dimensions of cities in the face of uncertainty, and reduce persistent inefficiency, and social exclusion associated with demography, migration, and social mobility, among others;

  • Spatial Structure: how to maximize national and local benefits of urbanization and mitigate its negative impacts in the context of a city’s physical structure, considering elements such as urban planning (form, density, optimum size, etc.), transportation systems, energy and resource efficiency, among others.

Two crosscutting Clusters,

  • Governance: how to define the most effective and efficient allocation of functional responsibilities and partnerships among various levels of government and stakeholders in different political economies; how can metropolitan management be made more effective for sustainable urban development in the face of uncertainty;

  • Sustainability: how to enable environmental sustainability, and effectively plan, develop and manage livable, productive and inclusive cities in the face of climate change and other unexpected challenges; and what are the key urban policies and lessons from cities that could help inform rapidly urbanizing cities in developing countries to achieve sustainability.

Procedures for Participation

The participation fee per person for this event is €400. The World Bank has the right to waive this fee on a need-based basis, with preference given to participants from developing countries.

For further information, visit www.urbanknowledge.org/urks6

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