World continents
 

 

 

 

Cities have never prospered as much as in the past three decades. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than 50% of the world's population called an urban area home. Accounting for approximately 70% of global GDP, cities drive the world's economy and are vibrant engines of opportunity, commerce, culture, and an improved quality of life.

Yet this major shift toward cities has created critical challenges. In the Global South and East, the scale and pace of urbanization is straining physical infrastructure, fiscal capacity, and natural resources in many places. It is challenging institutional and political structures that often lack the capacity and flexibility to respond to fast-paced growth. Meanwhile, cities in the Global North and West are also facing challenges, including finding efficient ways of retrofitting and upgrading outdated infrastructure. Regardless of the region, the pressing issues of cities are collectively becoming the pressing issues of the planet: climate change; achieving economic, social, and environmental sustainability; and building a better quality of life.

In spite of the challenges, cities remain hotbeds for innovation and reinvention. New infrastructure and urban development models are emerging that are scalable and engage citizens, industry leaders and policy makers alike. They draw on new technologies and information systems to do more with less; use public-private partnerships and innovative financing structures; test unconventional processes and business models; creatively reuse outdated assets; and make multiple uses of existing infrastructure. In short, they are transformational.

Since there is no "one-size- fits-all" approach to urban infrastructure, the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Urban Development in 2011 — 2012 sought to highlight some of the new models of city-making for the benefit of urban leaders across the world. To this end, the Council developed Urban Anthologies: Learning from Our Cities. Urban Anthologies is a series of booklets showcasing transformational models of infrastructure and urban development. The series is a user-friendly tool, designed to equip mayors and other private sector leaders with the information necessary to transform their own communities and ignite further dialogue.

The success stories in Urban Anthologies are drawn from cities and communities of varying typologies across the world—from mature cities, to fast-growing ones, to cities dealing with economic transition, to new greenfield cities. They focus on the critical interventions, applied technologies, key performance outcome measures, local governance, and creative processes that will be good for people and the planet alike. Each story was selected for its proven impact, replicability, and scalability.

The 21st century will be the "century of the city." The World Economic Forum and members of the Global Agenda Council for Urban Development intend that mayors, ministers, urban leaders, city planners, civic leaders, and industry leaders determine for themselves how these success stories can be adapted to other urban settings, how to implement infrastructure planning decisions at the right time, and how to construct public projects in the most efficient manner to ensure advancement of community goals and improved quality of life. In this way, the "century of the city" will be one marked by prosperity, inclusion, partnership, and sustainability.

 

For more infomation, please email
senseable-WEF@mit.edu

 

 

 
 

 

Adèle Naudé Santos
Chair - Architect,
Urban Designer and Dean,
MIT - School of Architecture
and Planning - USA
sap.mit.edu

 

Rob Adams A.M.
Vice Chair - Director
City Design, City of Melbourne
Australia
www.melbourne.vic.gov.au

 

Terry Hill
Chairman Global Transport
Market Arup Group Ltd.
United Kingdom
www.arup.com

 

Taffy Adler
Housing Development Agency
(HDA) South Africa
www.thehda.co.za

 

Abha Joshi-Ghani
Sector Manager Urban Development
and Local Government Unit,
Sustainable Development
The World Bank - USA
www.worldbank.org

 

Mats Williamson
Executive Vice-President
Skanska AB
Sweden
www.skanska.com

 

Rohit T. Aggarwala
Special Advisor to the Chair
C40 Cities Climate
Leadership Group - Usa
www.c40cities.org

 

Mario Augusto Noriega Toledo
Director-Manager
Mario Noriega y Asociados Ltd.
Colombia

 

Scot Wrighton
City Manager
Lavasa Corporation Limited
India
www.hccindia.com

 

Babatunde Raji Fashola
Governor of Lagos
Nigeria
www.lagosstate.gov.ng

 

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann
Secretary-General ICLEI
Local Governments
for Sustainability Germany. www.iclei.org

 

Melanie Walker
Deputy Director,
Special Initiatives
Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation
USA
www.gatesfoundation.org

 

Gordon Feller
Director
Urban Innovation
Cisco Systems Inc. USA
www.cisco.com

 

Carlo Ratti
Director
MIT Senseable City Lab
USA
www.senseable.mit.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Support From

 

 

With Contributors

 

 

Prudence Robinson
Production
Partner Strategist |
Research Fellow
MIT Senseable City Lab USA

 

 

Romy Barberi Gomez
General Director of Economic
& Social Development Trust
Mexico City

 

 

Robin Ried
Global Agenda Council
Manager Senior Community
Manager, Infrastructure &
Urban Development +
Global Leadership Fellow
World Economic Forum

 

 

Fausto Lugo
General Director of
Emergency Dispatch &
Civil Protection Center
Mexico City

 

 

Tiffany Misrahi
Research Analyst
Global Agenda Councils
World Economic Forum

 

 

Josie Adler
Urban Management Consultant
Johannesburg, South Africa

 

 

Otto C L Ng
Design Strategy
Project Designer
MIT Senseable City Lab USA

 

 

Sofie Profit
Green Development Director
Skanska AB Sweden

 

 

Kael Greco
Graduate Researcher
MIT Senseable City Lab USA

 

 

Anya Brickman Raredon,
Jose Jaime Samper Escobar,
Viktorija Abolina,
Eric Baczuk

 

 

studio FM milano
Graphic Design
Italy

 

 

Puritan Press
Printer
New Hampshire USA