High-level meeting to discuss potential solutions for transforming cities

Jay Owen Sustainability News


For immediate release: Tuesday, August 27 2013



High-level meeting to discuss potential solutions for transforming cities


A series of high-level events addressing some of the world’s most critical challenges is being kicked off today with a meeting devoted to the transformation of cities. Organised with the participation of the Economist Intelligence Unit, the series will focus on solving systemic problems in cities, ecosystems, health and livelihoods. The series is funded and hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation.

At each ”Visionaries Unbound” meeting, roughly 20 thought leaders from corporations, universities, governments, banks, civil society and other global organisations will debate and propose actionable, cross-sectoral solutions. Informed and guided working group discussions over three days at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio, Italy conference centre will focus on the challenges involved in shifting the current trajectory in these four areas, and the interventions that may be required to achieve this. The overarching goal of the series is to link and leverage compelling insights and activities across sectors.

The first event, “Transforming Cities,” is convened by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research and Forum for the Future, a sustainability-focused nongovernmental organisation. Through micro-scenarios, mapping and road-testing exercises, the meeting strives to generate practical, multidisciplinary urban planning proposals in areas such as housing, mass transit, power and park provision. The most compelling proposals will be evaluated on site by officials in select African and Asian cities this year.


Participants confirmed to take part in the event include:

Hon. Nicholas K. Banda, deputy minister of Local Government and Housing, Lusaka, Zambia

Yu Gao, China country director, Landesa Rural Development Institute

Joan Clos, executive director, UN-HABITAT, and former mayor of Barcelona

Hariprasad Hegde, global head of operations, WIPRO

Steven Koonin, director, Center for Urban Science and Progress, NYU’s Stern School of Business

Karin Ireton, director of Sustainability Management, Standard Bank

Solomon Prakash, founder, India Drivers Network

Sheela Patel, founding director, Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres

Twarath Sutabutr, deputy director general, Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency in Thailand’s Ministry of Energy


Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China business and finance editor at The Economist will lead a final session weaving together compelling insights for practical and actionable follow-up.

For more information on “Transforming Cities” and the events that follow, please go towww.visionariesunbound.com .   


Press enquiries:

Mathew Hanratty, Press Liaison, +44 20 7576 8546[email protected]

Carolyn Whelan, Editor, 1.212.522.0677[email protected]


About The Economist Intelligence Unit


The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. As the world’s leading provider of country intelligence, The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information about The Economist Intelligence Unit can be found at www.eiu.com or follow us on www.twitter.com/theeiu .

About The Rockefeller Foundation


The Rockefeller Foundation, headed by Judith Rodin, aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100-year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision making. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.