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2011 Fall National Meeting Summary

Chicago, IL | October 11 – 12, 2011

With generous support from The C hic ago C om m unity Trust, The M ac Arthur Foundation, KN EXT C ollege C redit Advisors, and Steelc ase Inc ., CEOs for Cities hosted our Fall National Meeting in Chicago on October 11-12, 2011. Over two days, we brought together 200 Civic CEOs from the public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors and national subject matter experts to explore place-based innovations and strategies for accelerating the transfer of ideas, development of talent, and the creation of sustainable, vibrant, economically competitive and successful cities. Early recaps of the meeting were posted on Forbes.com, the HUD blog and ICIC's blog Program O verview Through a collaboration with Chicago IdeasWeek, we kicked off our time together with a special opportunity on Monday evening, October 10, to attend a MEGATALK featuring C hic ago M ayor Rahm Em anuel, N ew York C ity M ayor M ic hael B loom berg, Atlanta M ayor Kasim Reed, Ric hard Stengel of TIM E, and Tom Friedm an of The N ew York Tim es . Tuesday and Wednesday keynote remarks were made by U .S. Sec retary of H ousing and U rban D evelopm ent Shaun D onovan; H arvard Professor Ed Glaeser, author of Trium ph of the C ity ; H enry C isneros, Exec utive C hairm an of C ityView; C hris Kennedy, im m ediate past President of M erc handise M art Properties and B ruc e M au, Founder of the M assive C hange N etwork. Interspersed between them were panels highlighting Chicago, metrics for city success, mayoral leadership and talent, as well as a lightening round of presentations by innovators from around the country. We concluded with four tours of Chicago neighborhoods, including Bronzeville, Pilsen, River North and the West side to explore large-scale revitalization efforts, effective immigrant integration and urban agriculture. Featured speakers included: Ellen Alberding, President of the Joyce Foundation Frank Beal, Executive Director, Metropolis Strategies Alicia Berg, Vice President of Campus Environment, Columbia College Chicago Mayor Alvin Brown, City of Jacksonville, FL Henry Cisneros, Executive Chairman, CityView Mayor Mick Cornett, City of Oklahoma City Mayor Karl Dean, City of Nashville Shaun Donovan, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ed Glaeser, Harvard economist and author, Triumph of the City Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Paul Grogan, President and CEO, The Boston Foundation Mayor George Heartwell, City of Grand Rapids
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Chris Kennedy, immediate past President, Merchandise Mart Properties Steve Koch, Vice Chairman of Global Mergers and Acquisitions, Credit Suisse Mayor Ronald Loveridge, City of Riverside, CA Bruce Mau, Co-Founder of the Massive Change Network and Founder & Chairman Emeritus of Bruce Mau Design, Inc. Terry Mazany, President and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust Governor Pat Quinn, State of Illinois Peter Smith, Senior Vice President of Academic Strategies & Development at Kaplan Higher Education Julia Stasch, Vice President of US Programs, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, SUNY Sum m ary H ighlights CEOs for Cities’ 2011 Fall Meeting gave participants the chance to share their best ideas for community engagement, economic development, and long-term growth and sustainability with fellow urban leaders around the country. The first day of the two-day conference sparked lively conversations among the nation’s top urban leaders. U .S. Sec retary of H ousing and U rban D evelopm ent (H U D ) Shaun D onovan and form er H U D Sec retary H enry C isneros, who c urrently serves as Exec utive C hairm an of C ityView, delivered the keynote addresses. In his remarks, Sec retary D onovan addressed the steps the federal government is taking to partner with local communities, cities and metro regions to “help them become the dynamic, diverse, resilient economies America needs to win the future.” He noted that he has worked to put the “UD” back in “HUD”, and recognized a series of urban initiatives that are transforming cities like Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. He noted that placemaking has become more important as cities compete for human capital. The former HUD Secretary told us, “I believe that we are witnessing the dawning of a new golden era of America’s cities.” The Chicago panel, “With Past as Prologue: Charting the Path to Chicago’s Future,” featured a series of provocative questions from Julia Stasc h, Vic e President of U S Program s for the M ac Arthur Foundation to the panelists. She noted that it’s important to talk about urban problems but it should be done in the context of a positive dialogue. Alic ia B erg, Vic e President of C am pus Environm ent at C olum bia C ollege C hic ago noted that placemaking should be focused less on physical assets and more on social and human capital assets. She also noted the need for governmental reform, with a special focus on the City Council. Terry M azany, President and C EO of the C hic ago C om m unity Trust, noted that the greatest challenge facing Chicago and other cities is economic opportunity, and that the best way to address this challenge is through an ethic of collaboration that focuses on education reform and bridging the digital divide. Steve Koc h, Vic e President of Global M ergers and Ac quisitions
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for C redit Suisse, and a senior economic advisor to Mayor Emanuel, spoke about the need to address the financial sustainability of Chicago and to confront such issues as public pensions. Frank B eale, Exec utive D irec tor of M etropolis Strategies, noted that urban and regional reform can sometimes be like moving the Queen Mary with a rowboat but progress is being made. He emphasized the need to better fund public transit. Noting the importance of Chicago’s many assets, he described Chicago’s income statement as bad but its balance sheet as good. Paul Grogan, founder and B oard C hair of C EO s for C ities and President and C EO of The B oston Foundation, recounted the history of CEOs for Cities, noting that it has become an idea factory for cities, with a national network that serves as a built-in distribution system for cutting edge ideas and smart practices for making American cities more successful. The panel, “City Vitals: How Do We Measure the Success of Cities?” featured a lively exchange of ideas moderated by D ave Egner, President and C EO of the H udsonWebber Foundation in D etroit. Dave engaged both the panel and the audience with a series of interesting questions. Joe C ortright, Senior Polic y Advisor for C EO s for C ities and the author of our groundbreaking research, “City Vitals,” reviewed the critical metrics of connectedness, innovation, talent, and distinctiveness in measuring a city’s success. B ob Weissbourd, President of RW Ventures, suggested that additional metrics that should be looked at include business climate (including the birth and death of firms), governmental efficiency, and the alignment of talent with production- in other words, how effectively human capital is deployed. He noted that college towns have a high level of talent but are not particularly productive because most of the human capital is not effectively deployed. N ed H ill, D ean of the Levin C ollege of U rban Affairs at C leveland State U niversity, also emphasized the need to focus on production – the ability of a city and region to reload and restock its product portfolio. H enry C isneros reflected on the role of cities as a central part of the American story. “In America, it has been the machinery of urban life that has provided the stepping stones to a better life.” He noted that our urban places give us a sense of common purpose, and he reviewed the special roles that the new economy, anchor institutions, infrastructure, and creative leadership play in urban success. The next panel, “The View of the City from City Hall” was effectively moderated by M ayor Steve Goldsm ith, form er M ayor of Indianapolis and D irec tor of the Innovations in Am eric an Governm ent Program at H arvard Kennedy Sc hool of Governm ent. M ayor Alvin B rown of Jac ksonville, Florida; M ayor M ic k C ornett of O klahom a C ity, O klahom a; M ayor Karl D ean of N ashville, Tennessee; M ayor George H eartwell of Grand Rapids, M ic higan; and M ayor Ron Loveridge of Riverside, C alifornia, each described physical and human capital innovations taking place in their cities.

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The first day concluded with a lightning round of fast-paced “provocations” by seven CEOs for Cities partners. D ave Abbott, Exec utive D irec tor of The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, spoke about the “power of a squash to save the world”. He spoke about the power and potential of urban agriculture to create sustainable urban environments and recounted some the groundbreaking work being done in Cleveland with urban agricultural zoning and urban farming. Kerry H ayes, Spec ial Assistant to M em phis M ayor A C Wharton, reviewed the outcomes of CEOs for Cities’ Memphis Opportunity Challenge held in February, which focused on developing all the city’s talent and putting all of it to work. He spoke about the transformation of Memphis into the Learning City, the Venture City, and the Connected City. Jim D unlap, Exec utive Vic e President, and D irec tor of Regional and C om m erc ial B anking, and West M ic higan Regional President of H untington B ank in Grand Rapids, M ic higan gave a fast-paced, upbeat presentation on the paradigm shift in attitude of the business community that has taken place in Grand Rapids. He talked abut the formation of the “What’s Next?” group of business CEOs who have worked to reboot the conversation to focus more on “ learning to say ‘yes.’ “ Jim noted the importance of creating a culture where you’re not afraid to fail; little things matter; youth are empowered; and programming is more important than buildings. Elizabeth Edwards, C EO of M etro Innovation in Cincinnati, Ohio and author of “Startup” spoke about the power and potential of prizes and competitions in spurring innovation and entrepreneurship, including the competition she helped found, “Cincinnati Innovates”. Rishi Jaitly, Program D irec tor for the Knight Foundation in D etroit, M ic higan, spoke about the importance of creating a civic culture that creates “horizontal energy.” He noted that the barriers to entry in the civic space have flattened and that citizens are becoming co-equal participants in change. Through the confluence of opportunity and identity, cities can become “do-it-yourself” cities. Luc y M eade, D irec tor of M arketing and D evelopm ent for Venture Ric hm ond in Richmond, Virginia, described the innovative marketing campaign that led to “RVA.” Capitalizing on Richmond’s history of non-conformity, they developed an open source experiment in community identity by creating a brand that could be customized and adapted by various constituencies. A’yen Tran, Interac tive Projec t M anager of Loc al Projec ts in New York City concluded the lightning round with a description of Change by Us, an online civic engagement platform developed jointly by CEOs for Cities and Local Projects with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation. The second and final day of the conference focused on education, talent, design, and density. Audience members, including foundation executives, venture capitalists, university leaders, mayors, and academics discussed what could be done together to help cities achieve their Talent Dividend—the economic returns that are correlated to per capita ratio of college graduates. C hris Kennedy, form er president of M erc handise M art Properties and C hair of the U niversity of Illinois B oard of Trustees, talked about being born into a “city-centric” family. “CEOs for Cities knows that every city is a communal enterprise,” he told the crowd. Kennedy further emphasized the need for collaboration among political, business, and academic leadership. “Perhaps the only perpetual job creation activity that a government can engage in is funding academic research
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institutions in higher education,” he said. “Our research institutions have an important role in not just creating jobs, but in sparking entire industries.” The morning panel, “The Talent Dividend” was moderated by N anc y Z im pher, C hanc ellor of SU N Y and Board Chair-Elect of CEOs for Cities. In her usual spirited way, Nancy moderated a dialogue with Ellen Alberding, President of the Joyc e Foundation; B ill M oses, Program D irec tor for the Kresge Foundation; Peter Sm ith, Senior Vic e President of Ac adem ic Strategies and D evelopm ent at Kaplan H igher Educ ation; and D avid William s, President and C EO of Leadership M em phis. Ellen Alberding spoke about the Joyce Foundation’s Aspen Prize which will be awarded to the community college that not only has the highest graduation rates but also the highest success in placing graduates into employment. She noted that research shows that if there is a clear job at the end of the path, a student is more likely to finish the path. B ill M oses described the $1 million Talent Dividend Prize sponsored by the Kresge Foundation. He noted that the prize will help to sustain and leverage progress in participating cities in achieving the talent dividend- i.e., increasing the 2-year and 4-year college graduation rates of the metro region’s population. Peter Sm ith emphasized the importance of assessing and accepting prior learning as part of the post-secondary education process. D avid William s described the work of Leadership Memphis in leading the Talent Dividend effort and spoke about effectiveness of the creation of a college resource center in the public library system. World-renowned design guru B ruc e M au, c o- founder of the M assive C hange N etwork, noted that a majority of recently polled CEOs reported that the top challenge that they faced was creativity. “Practically everything you can think of will be done differently in the future,” Mau told us, adding that this creates a tremendous opportunity for higher education institutions. “When you attach purpose to education, it’s an accelerator,” he said. “I would think about organizing entire universities around the great challenges that we face.” Mau noted that “the city doesn’t happen to you; you create it.” He then led a brief interactive session that focused on envisioning the future of the city focused on formulating brief phrases that best exemplify the future city. Some of the results included a city “ where you connect to your own spark”; “of joyful density’; “ where you look after each other”; “without suffering”; “where people are amazed”; “that transcends physical space”; “where the streets have no name”; “ that is an equitable, just place”; “where everyone engages their full capacity”; “ where we let people live, learn, love, and be loved”; and “that is unfinished.” In closing keynote remarks, H arvard Professor and Trium ph of the C ity author Ed Glaeser examined the characteristics of successful American cities that have enabled them to continue to thrive despite significant transitions. “Knowledge is more important than space,” he told us, citing the trading floors of Wall Street as an example. “We get smart by being around smart people, and people in cities take advantage of this. This is what cities do.” Glaeser warned against housing, transportation, and community development policies that contribute to suburban sprawl and detract from vibrant urban centers. “The economist’s perspective places emphasis on giving people options,” he said. “Cities do not need handouts or favors, but they do need a level playing field.”
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The meeting closed with a series of city tours that highlighted areas of urban innovation in Chicago, from urban agriculture to the economic revitalization of a historic Chicago neighborhood. We had an extraordinary line-up of creative leaders together for this meeting. Our hope is that attendees will bring key learnings and ideas back to their own cities.

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