What is the future of urban social change? And where do innovative ideas come from? Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions, will ask those questions tomorrow at a livestreamed event in honor of its 20th anniversary.
For the midday panel about new urban innovation models, Paula Ellis, Knight’s vice president/strategic initiatives and a Living Cities board member, will interview author Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From.
Since 2006, Knight Foundation has supported Living Cities, specifically to expand and deepen its collaborative investment to improve urban neighborhoods in 23 communities. Knight also supports its Integration Initiative, an effort designed to advance successful models for effective urban investment and transformation in five cities, including St. Paul and Detroit.
Knight Foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. Noting how this belief also informs the work of Living Cities, Ellis wrote an essay underscoring how the partnership has the potential to create transformational change:
“Living Cities recognizes the value of consistently concentrating in the same room the hand’s-on expertise of its member’s most forward-thinking people. Because Living Cities’ leaders are leveraging not just the dollars but their own top-down expertise together against real-life, real-time concerns, these gatherings are among the most important dates on my calendar. Nowhere else do the major foundations, financial institutions and community entities bring their knowledge to bear in order to test and create durable solutions to urban realities.”
Other panels throughout the day Tuesday will highlight Living Cities’ history, its current efforts and what it sees as the future of collaboration to improve cities and the lives of low income people.
All panels will be webcast live from 9:15 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 7:35 until 9 p.m. EST on the Living Cities website. You can also follow the live blog hosted by Next American City and share your thoughts with Living Cities on Twitter using the hashtag #LC20.
Below is a full list of panels.
9:15–11 a.m. Living Cities Today & Tomorrow: A Conversation with the Living Cities Board: Our economy, our government, our country are undergoing enormous and disruptive changes. Living Cities board members – the leadership from some of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions – will discuss how the organization’s priorities have evolved over its 2-year history to address the changing needs of low-income people and why a more collaborative approach, coupled with innovative investment models, has the potential to re-engineer America's cities for the future.
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Interview with Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From: Steven Johnson has introduced concepts such as the “adjacent possible” and written extensively on cities as the perfect petri dish for innovation. Paula Ellis, Living Cities board member, vp of Strategic Initiatives at Knight Foundation and a former investigative journalist, will interview Johnson, as he challenges us to think about and new modes of investment in urban innovation.
12:45-1:45 p.m. Integrating People, Place and Opportunity: An Inside Look at the Integration Initiative: In October 2010, Living Cities launched The Integration Initiative, an $85 million effort which supports cities that are harnessing existing momentum and leadership for change, overhauling long obsolete systems and fundamentally reshaping their communities and policies to meet the needs of low-income residents. One year into this initiative, hear from leaders driving the work on the ground and national funders about results to-date, early lessons-learned, and what’s next both locally and nationally.
7:35-9:15 p.m. Dynamic Collaboration, Cities & the Future: A Moderated Conversation: A keynote speech by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan will be followed by a roundtable discussion among an unexpected mix of leaders to identify and discuss the emerging trends and innovations that will be crucial for cities over the next 20 years, the new problem-solving mechanisms that are needed, and the respective (and evolving) roles various sectors must play.
For additional information on the panels, including a list of panelists, please visit www.livingcities.org.