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What is the city but the people?

The Innovation City

The Innovation City brings together engaged citizens, entrepreneurs, scholars, business and government leaders to explore new ideas on city building (photo courtesy of CityAge)

Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2035, three of every four people in the world will live in a city.

What will those cities look like? How can we ensure they’re sustainable, healthy centres of thriving economies and civil societies?

The Innovation City, a two-day conference co-hosted by the MaRS Discovery District and event organizer CitiesAge brings together scholars, urban planners and leaders from business, community, and government to address these questions July 18-19.

U of T President David Naylor chairs a panel July 19th called The Metropolitan Lab: how research institutions can build the city. The discussion will focus on the role of new partnerships in developing urban centres, examining interdisciplinary approaches among business, government, academe and non-governmental organizations. Panelists tackling such topics as how universities, cities and the private sector can work together will include: Steve Koonin, Director of CUSP, Pat Horgan, Vice President, Operations, IBM, Arvind Gupta, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs, and U of T alumna Anne Sado, President, George Brown College.

John Sexton, president of New York University will be one of the keynote speakers and is expected to address the role of the The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) in his talk July 19th.  Announced in April by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CUSP is the result of an agreement among the City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a consortium of private technology companies and leading academic institutions.

The University of Toronto is the only Canadian university participating in CUSP.

CUSP will focus on research and developing technologies for the critical challenges facing the world’s cities, including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, transportation congestion, public safety, and public health.  In addition to U of T and NYU, participating institutions include Carnegie Mellon University, University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well as leading companies IBM, CISCO and Siemens.

Sexton is one of a number of speakers at the conference who have some association with  U of T. Alumnus Joe Berridge, founding partner of Urban Strategies, chairs a July 18th panel on The Global Metropolis, Connecting New Infrastructure and People and alumna Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, will chair a July 19th panel on The Metropolitan Return: Cities as hubs of investment & innovation.

The Innovative City conference kicks off July 18 with a keynote address by IBM’s global CTO for the public sector, Guru Banavar, followed by a panel on Catalyst Cities: Leaders of the New Economy. Moderated by MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht, the panel includes: Seth Pinsky, President, New York City Economic Development Corporation; Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom; Jorn Weisbrodt, Artistic Director, Luminato; and Sandra Pupatello, Director, Business Development and Global Markets, PwC.

For more information visit: http://www.theinnovationcity.org/about