This summit, organised by, Centre for Cities, Citi and Boston University Initiative on Cities, with the support of Arup, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the University of Warwick, will bring together the six newly elected English metro mayors with a select group of mayors from the USA, each leading cities of similar size to the English mayoral city regions. The mayors will have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful knowledge exchange, sharing their insights and experience of what it means to be a mayor in an increasingly urban world.
The summit will take place over three days in locations around London and will consist largely of private events exclusive to the mayors, their staff, and high level guests chosen for their knowledge, expertise and insight. The summit will also include a day of exclusive meetings for the US mayors, including meetings with senior government officials and city development experts.
Why hold this summit?
In recent years, the UK government has increasingly recognised the value and contribution cities make to the national economy as a whole. Similarly, there has also been a recognition that strong city leadership can often lead to positive change and economic benefits - whether through creating a strong lobby for funding, or helping to attract global investment thanks to a powerful and visible city advocate.
In May 2017 six mayors were elected to lead newly formed metro authorities (known as combined authorities) in major English city regions outside London, including Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, and each have control over transport, housing and planning. While powerful mayoral institutions are well-established in many countries, in the UK – one of the most centralised countries in the OECD – this was a momentous step not only in restructuring the relationship between local and national government, but in raising the international profile and influence of some of the UK’s large and growing cities.
For almost two decades, London has enjoyed enormous success as an internationally competitive city with a high profile mayor, and now, other large and successful cities have the opportunity to enhance their profile and strengthen economic growth with better governance structures and visible, accountable leaders.
But these new metro mayors also face huge challenges. While the road to economic growth, increased prosperity, and engaged citizens is best traveled with a mayor at the helm, the process of building a brand new and unfamiliar institution, working within newly created metropolitan authorities, and delivering on a manifesto all within a short, three-year term, won’t be easy.
Centre for Cities, a UK-based think tank dedicated to improving the economic performance of UK cities, has long advocated for devolved power and strong urban leadership. It is now working to support the new mayors to be as effective as possible in their first term. Beyond practical guidance though, Centre for Cities is supporting on network-building, ideas exchange and brand new trading opportunities between the new UK metro mayors and their global counterparts, starting with a group of highly successful and impactful mayors from the US.
To this end, the Centre for Cities, Citi and Boston University Initiative on Cities, along with Arup, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Warwick University, have organised this UK-International Mayors Summit, with additional support from the British Consulate in Boston.
The summit will take place in venues around London over three days from December 4th to 6th 2017, and will bring together the UK metro mayors with a group of carefully selected mayors from the US. US mayors have been selected for their power and influence, as well as for similarity to the UK metro authorities – both size and in relation to policy challenges and opportunities.
Such a selection process means that the attending US mayors will not only have the opportunity to take part in a meaningful ideas exchange, but will be in a position to discuss and demonstrate their most impactful policy programmes. The summit will largely consist of private roundtable discussions between the mayors themselves offering an opportunity for the US group to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with recently empowered UK cities.
The final day will include high level meetings with key UK national government departments, offering the US mayors an opportunity to engage with senior Ministers at the UK national level, alongside detailed conversations with London representatives, and a visit to a recent city regeneration project.