Building sustainable cities was the theme of last week's European Foundation Centre's 24th Annual General Assembly and Conference in Copenhagen. The sessions and meeting areas were abuzz with global networking, resource sharing, and brainstorming around shared goals. We heard leaders like Connie Hedegaard (European Commissioner for Climate Action) and Jay Carson (C40 Cities) react to climate change and to the resulting environmental decay, and Mark Kramer (FSG) and Rachel Kyte (World Bank) make the case for how philanthropy can absorb risk, boldly innovate, and partner in tackling this problem. We heard from Jan Gehl (Gehl Architect and Author, Cities for People) that sustainable cities are lively and livable, safe, sustainable, and healthy, and from innovators like Claire Bullen (University of Manchester), Elisabeth Møller Jensen (KVINFO), and Marko Rakar (Windmill) who identified city-specific problems and worked with community members, government, funders, and businesses to frame the problem and then steer each city towards a sustainable future. We heard funders like Victoria Vrana (Gates Foundation), Marta Tellado (Ford Foundation), and Flemming Borreskov remind us of staying relevant and being outward-looking by thinking about values, data, and big needs. We heard about the depth of city crises around the world from FutureLab millennials Andréa Chabant-Sánchez, Marian Cramers, and Theodora Matziropoulou, who inspired, along with Jordi Vaquer (Open Society Initiative for Europe), a threefold sense of urgency, optimism, and solidarity. We could go on and on; but take a look for yourself at some of the most resonant soundbites and images.
We leave you with this clip from Rien van Gendt's acceptance speech of the 2013 Compass Prize, where he shared some candid thoughts about the philanthropy landscape:
For more highlights and clips from the conference, please visit the European Foundation Centre's website.