World Class Cities Partnership Summit: overview

Barcelona. Lisbon. Vancouver. Haifa. Boston. Hamburg. Lyon. Dublin. What do these great cities have in common?  They are members of the World Class Cities Partnership — a group of medium sized (i.e., not uber-urban conurbations like NY or London or Tokyo) keen on sharing best practices in urban sustainability and collaborating between cities and universities on research.

The second annual summit was held last week in Barcelona.  For a Vancouverite, the sizzling heat was a great relief, given the unusually cold spring/summer we seem to be experiencing. This blog will be an overview of the 3 day meeting — and then I’ll post some more specific info about Barcelona Activa and the 22@ District, for example.

The Partnership is led out of Boston’s NorthEastern University — here is the link:   WCCP is about collaboration between Cities and their post-secondary institutions.  It is about identifying research needed by the cities — and delivering collaboratively.  For example, this year the research topic was talent attraction and retention.  With the help of graduate students from NorthEastern, each “city-university” collaboration wrote a paper which is now being turned into one document that will be launched in September as a compilation of best practices in this area.

For Vancouver, it is an opportunity to take advantage of our Campus-City Collaborative — the six post-secondary institutions in the City of Vancouver working together with the City towards achieving the greenest city targets.  So we bring 6 institutions to the table; this was of interest to our partner cities.  And it was an opportunity to tell people about the and ideas around innovation labs that are bubbling up globally.

What makes it work, of course, is people.  The Executive Director is Mike Lake (or Miguel Lago as we affectionately referred to him when in Barcelona). Mike is an unusually energetic person with a perfect background to tackle the diplomacy and strategic thinking required to corral global cities, get them on the same page and move city sustainability agendas forward.  Mike is more than ably supported by Dan Spiess, Research Director and Ian Sample, Operations Coordinator.  Dan is the Research Director;  he is responsible for pulling together the research and also teaching/coordinating the class that was delivered at NorthEastern last year to support the talent research.  Ian keeps everything together — keeping 20+ academics and public servants in line in a city like Barcelona is not an easy task. But Ian accomplished this without a hitch.

Here is a brief summary of the activities (no time for slouching around Barcelona)

Day 1:  Tour of Barcelona Activa, Tour of 22@ District, Working Sessions on WCCP

Day 2:  Presentations of the 2011-2012 Research on Talent Retention and Attraction

Day 3:  Strategy setting for next year — and a very specific session on Public-Private Partnership initiatives which was a “question” posed to us by the City of Barcelona.

Needless to say there were amazing tours and lunches and dinners interspersed to make the experience extremely enjoyable and productive.  More blogs on the way.

One response to “World Class Cities Partnership Summit: overview”


    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

Leave a Reply