Leading Cities strives to be a leader in innovative urban research. Our team of researchers at universities across the globe are experts in urban policy in their respective homes. Leading Cities strives to make sure our research has real life implications for the residents of our cities. Our research methods are designed to include all stakeholders – exactly the reason why we require the participation of not only academic institutions, but also government and private sector actors.
Talent Attraction and Retention
In our inaugural research endeavor as a network, Leading Cities’ partners agreed to tackle the issue of talent attraction and retention. Each of our partner cities are recognized as centers of education and are therefore seen as relying on an educated work force. However, in today’s global economy the competition over top talent is fierce. Our research shows what issues are at the core of this discussion.
This report explores how local government can improve decision-making by actively engaging citizens, businesses, governments, academia and non-profits in a process called ‘co-creation.’ We define co-creation as an inclusive and dynamic process where members of these five sectors – also known as the Q-helix – actively collaborate throughout the problem identification, design, implementation, decision-making and evaluation of projects and/or urban policies.
The report examines why and how citizen engagement processes have evolved from top-down autocratic approaches to ones that are increasingly participatory, democratic and, more recently, co-creative. It examines case studies from a small cross-section of medium-sized cities in Europe and North America and offers insights into how co-creation and technology can be used to enhance and create more inclusive decision-making processes. The limitations of technology and co-creation are also discussed. The report ends with lessons learned and recommendations for how to improve a city’s capacity for complex problem-solving and evidence-based policy decisions by involving a diverse set of stakeholders at each step of the process.
Co-Creating Sustainable Cities
Co-creation is often considered a business term. In reality, it is a method for decision making that is applicable far beyond business strategy. It is democratic in nature and governments are increasingly turning to co-creation techniques to make better decisions and analyze policy questions. In our initial report, released in early 2014, we sought to define co-creation in the public realm. Our additional research will focus on specific examples being put to the test now and previews of what may be coming as co-creation techniques are applied.
Smart Agriculture in Boston
With 80% of the world’s resources being consumed within cities, which occupy just 2% of the Earth’s landmass, city leaders are developing new policies, strategies, and visions for generating fewer carbon emissions, consuming less energy and producing more urban agriculture. As the threats of climate change, food scarcity, economic hardship continues to present growing challenges for cities, Leading Cities explores the opportunities our partner cities have to address these urban challenges. In this Brief, Emil Ghitman Gilkes presents the opportunities possible for the city of Boston to pursue a more aggressive urban agriculture agenda.
Other Books & Publications
Technology, understood as all of our material culture, has played a key role in our development since the origins of our species. At first, technology configured itself as a critical element to ensure our survival in the mists of time, through the control of fire and the development of simple tools such as flint axe. Today, like the old god Janus, technology appears full of contradictions as the promise of a better, more equitable future also threatens the world as we know it. The threats materialize in issues of climate change, the reduction of biodiversity or the dynamics of exploitation of late capitalism. These contradictions indicate that we must negotiate with technology, as it has placed our culture and institutions as well as our psychological and philosophical defenses over the edge.
This work is set, therefore, as a journey through a changing universe, from different times and places where the main thread is structured around the notions of change and uncertainty. This book aims to introduce the reader to one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century, as is the techno-scientific governance system and its link to a new cultural and anthropological paradigm. Perhaps most importantly this book attempts to show the reader how technology transforms ourselves as well as our understanding of the context.
Cities in Crisis examines the political and administrative implications of austerity measures applied in southern European cities. These include cuts in local public spending and the processes of privatization of local public assets, as well as issues related to the re-scaling, recentralization or decentralization of competencies. Attention is paid to the rise of new ‘austerity regimes,’ the question of their legitimacy and their spatial manifestations, and in particular to the social consequences of austerity.
The contributions to this book lay the foundation for recommendations on how to improve and consolidate qualified governance arrangements in order to better address rapid economic and social changes. Such recommendations are applicable to cities and urban regions both within and outside of Europe. It identifies possible approaches, tools and partnerships to tackle the effects of the crisis and to prepare European cities for future challenges.