Global Metro Summit: Introducion

On behalf of the Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, the London School of Economics, and the Brookings Institution, we welcome you to the Global Metro Summit in Chicago. This Summit is the culmination of years of research devoted to uncovering the true potential of cities and metropolitan areas across the globe. It comes at an important moment in time as we continue to reel from the global economic crisis with the economies of entire nation states in transition and political leadership in turmoil. Yet, in the midst of this crisis a growing number of leaders are rising above the pessimism to reinvent their metropolitan economies while challenging the policies that undermine the value of cities and metros.

We have designed this Global Summit to give cities and metros from different regions of the world, and in different stages of recovery, a place to share insights on their efforts to economically transform themselves during tumultuous times. To do this thoughtfully, we took great pains to learn from our past, while remaining grounded in the present and keeping an eye to future possibilities.

The London School of Economics explored how cities and metros that intentionally re-made themselves in the past have influenced their performance in the present. LSE conducted fine-grained research of four cities (Barcelona, Munich, Seoul, and Torino) that dedicated the last 15 to 20 years to transforming their economic base to meet changing global forces. This research has deciphered what it takes to get there: making the necessary commitment of time by staying the course, aligning national and state priorities and resources to local strategies, and establishing new intellectual and physical networks.

A joint effort between LSE, Brookings, and Deutsche Bank Research investigated how cities are faring in the present to offer new insights into the future. The partnership conducted new research that carefully analyzed and dissected thousands of pieces of data to understand the performance of 150 cities and metros in today’s global economy. Our findings confirm that the worldwide downturn and nascent recovery are shifting the metro map of economic growth away from European and U.S. cities toward cities in Asia and Latin America.

Lastly, the Brookings Metro Program focused on the future by suggesting how to deliver the next economy through metropolitan areas. The Metro Program has developed a national vision for the “next” American economy: driven by exports, powered by low carbon, fueled by innovation, rich with opportunity, and led by metropolitan areas. To stimulate transformative bottom-up approaches to this vision, Brookings worked in partnership with three U.S. regions (Cleveland-Northeast Ohio, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the Seattle-Puget Sound area) to apply private sector “business planning” to these regional economies. The result is market-driven analysis and catalytic strategies to position these metros for federal, state, and philanthropic investments and partnership.

The notion that we are no longer a world of nation-states but a network of cities, metropolitan areas, and regions—communicating, networking, advancing—is understood by a growing number of political, philanthropic, business, and academic leaders. Now is the time for our world’s leaders to re-think their individual agendas and invest in these areas in an effort to support and sustain economic recovery at the global scale.

Wolfgang Nowak, Managing Director, Alfred Herrhausen Society

Ricky Burdett, Director, LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science

Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution