The Future of Places Conference opened yesterday in Stockholm and it was an impressive experience to see how many attendants the conference has drawn from all over the World. The people participating comes from four sector, from Academia and Research, from Governments, from business companies and from Civil Society. In the opening session I sat next to Professor Ting Wei Zhang from University of Illinois at Chicago, who is born in Shanghai and now works in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy in the American University. We truly live in a globalised world.
The first session started with with three powerful speeches, by the conference founder Peter Elmlund, by Conny Wahlström from the Swedish Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and by Thomas Melin of United Nations Habitat. Below is a 30 minutes video of the introduction.
After the introductions, the conference continued with a dialogue and debate with the City Mayors of Seberang Perai in Malaysia, Maimunah Sharif, and the former City Mayor o San Fernando in the Philippines, Mary Jane Ortega. Both of them are urban planners by education and they gave very interesting insights into their growing cities challenges and needs.
Following on was three speeches on The City We Need by Christine Auclair from UN Habitat, Eugenie Birch from the World Urban Campaign and Inga Björk-Klevby, the former Deputy Director of UN Habitat. I will publish video recordings of their speeches later on this week.
The session before lunch included three presentations, about the Multiple Histories of Public Space by Jeffry Fleischer, The Rise of Innovation Districts by the Brookings Institute´s Bruce Katz and Bottom – Up development in the Netherlands by Eva de Klerk.
The afternoon contained presentations and interactive sessions in smaller groups, for the purpose of the conference, the joint authoring by the delegates of input to the Habitat III conference in Quito in 2016.