NewCities Summit, Dallas: Urban Leaders and Thinkers from Across the World Call for Urban Re-imagination

  • 97 international speakers from across public, private, non-profit and academic sectors led an animated program on “Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis”
  • 820 people from 51 countries participated over the 3 days
  • Peerby, an app from Amsterdam, won AppMyCity! contest for best urban app

Dallas, Texas, U.S. – June 19, 2014. On the closing day of the NewCities Summit in the Dallas Arts District, Texas, global urban leaders and thinkers will return to their respective cities equipped with new, practical ideas for positive urban transformation and a strengthened network of contacts for future knowledge sharing. This year’s theme at the Summit, an annual high-level, cross-sector, global conversation on the future of cities, was Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis. The Summit attracted a total of 820 participants from 51 countries for its third edition, and its first in the United States. Hundreds of other viewers watched a live-cast of the Summit on the website of the city’s leading newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. Via social media, the Summit reached an even greater audience, with 3.8 million people reached through more than 1,300 media interactions from Summit participants.

Speaker Highlights

Luminaries from across the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors flew in from around the world to animate the diverse speaker program that encompassed technology, transport, the sharing economy and culture. In total, 97 speakers took part in this edition of the NewCities Summit.

Speakers included:

Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas; Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth; Fahd Al Rasheed, Managing Director & CEO, Emaar Economic City; Esther Dyson, Founder, The Way to Wellville; Chairman, EDventure; Wim Elfrink, Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief Globalisation Officer, Cisco; Molly Turner, Director of Public Policy, Airbnb; Bernard Manyenyeni, Mayor of Harare; Lutz Bertling, President and COO, Bombardier Transportation; Lady Barbara Judge, Chairman of the UK Pension Protection Fund; Jamie Lerner, Celebrated Urbanist, Former Governor Mayor of Curitiba, Brazil; Richard Sennett, Centennial Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics; University Professor of the Humanities, New York University; Mpho Franklin Parks Tau, Executive Mayor, Johannesburg; Geoffrey West, Distinguished Professor & Former President, Santa Fe Institute; Juan Carlos Izagirre, Mayor, San Sebastian – Donostia; Maxwell Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art; Julie Lein, President and co-founder of Tumml; Harold Madi, Director of Urban Design, City of Toronto; Huang Rui, Artist and Founder, Stars Group and 798 Beijing Art District; Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport; Catherine Cuellar, Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District; Ahamed J.M. Muzammi, His Worship the Mayor, Colombo; and Paul Romer, Professor of Economics & Director of the Marron Institute, New York University.

Peerby, an app developed in Amsterdam, won AppMyCity! contest

Yesterday, June 18, the NewCities Summit audience voted for their favorite urban app out of the three international developers vying for the 2014 AppMyCity! contest for the world’s best new urban app. The winner was Peerby, an Amsterdam-based web platform and app that enables people to share and borrow the things they need from their neighbors in under 30 minutes. Users post what they want to borrow, and neighbors will get a push notification to which they can respond in a single touch.

The other finalists were:

Djump (Brussels/Paris), a peer-to-peer ride-sharing service that allows drivers to register, users to request a ride and drivers to answer the call. Users can track drivers in real time and can choose to give a voluntary donation at the end of the ride.

Social Cyclist (New York), an app that encourages bike riders to map their preferred routes, report hazardous road conditions and vote on their preferred site locations for future cycling infrastructure. This aggregate data can then be used by cities to plan future infrastructure.

In their final bid to win, the three finalists presented their projects on the main stage and the Summit audience cast a live vote for their favorite. The prize is $5,000, aimed at the further development of the app. Find out more at

11 WhatWorks urban innovators showcased

On the afternoons of 17 and 18 June, the Summit showcased WhatWorks – a dynamic talk series by grassroots urban innovators from around the world and from across sectors – including urban farming, crime control, waste management, sustainable energy and urban design. View the full list of 11 innovators at

The conversation also continued beyond the sessions on Twitter, with the hashtag #whatworksincities.

Global Cultural Districts Network – First Discussions Held

This year’s Summit also underscored the vital role that arts and culture play in the re-imagination of cities. Dedicated sessions were curated by the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a federation of global centers of arts and culture fostering co-operation and knowledge-sharing among those responsible for conceiving, funding, building, and operating cultural districts. Today, June 19, members of the GCDN are meeting at the Dallas Museum of Art to develop strategy and future planning for the Network. Find out more about the culture-related sessions hosted at the Summit at Follow further developments at

Online & Underground Study Revealed

On day one of the Summit, June 17, NewCities revealed Online & Underground, a study analyzing the online connectivity in global urban metro stations. Produced in partnership with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and Ericsson – a NewCities Founding Member – the results are presented through a dynamic, interactive online visualization. At the Summit, participants were invited to contribute to a Q&A looking at the future implications of the study. Visit to access the visualization.

Discovering the Dallas-Fort-Worth metro region

The Summit closes today, June 19 with a series of site visits, offering international delegates the chance to witness exciting initiatives and social projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro region. These include a trip to the top museums in Fort Worth, a behind-the-scenes site visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and a tour of some of the public-private partnerships that are revitalizing Dallas’ urban core and surrounding area.

John Rossant, Chairman and Founder, NewCities, said: “We have been blown away by the enthusiasm, imagination and drive for change that we have witnessed in Dallas. This city was the perfect choice for a global conversation about re-imagining the urban space. Thank you to Mayor Mike Rawlings and to Maxwell Anderson and to the whole Dallas Arts District team for welcoming our delegates from across the world. Thank you to all of our speakers for inspiring and challenging us, and to our delegates who came from all corners of the world and many different sectors of expertise. Together, we have tackled some tough topics and moved one step further towards the urban transformation that the 21st century is calling for.”

Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: “I’m hoping that the delegates from 51 nations will return home with a fresh, progressive, and compelling narrative about the city of Dallas.”

Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, said: “It’s been a great Summit with fabulous ideas. It was great to network with mayors from around the world and through their staff, connect with their citizens. We will come away with ideas on how cities can help change the world.”

Catherine Cuellar, CEO, Dallas Arts District and moderator, WhatWorks talk series, said: “For decades the Dallas Arts District has solved problems not just practically, but also beautifully – inspiring all who work and visit here. This setting has been ideal, uniting top scholars, entrepreneurs and government officials from across the world in our neighborhood. We look forward to continuing the global conversation, learning from our colleagues and implementing best practices from partners through our Global Cultural Districts Network headquartered here.”

Daan Weddepohl, CEO & Founder, Peerby, winner of the 2014 AppMyCity! contest, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this prize. The AppMyCity! competition is about making cities more fun, fair, vibrant and sustainable. That is exactly what we are trying to do with Peerby.”

Catch Up on the New Cities Summit

Videos of key NewCities Summit presentations, including AppMyCity! and WhatWorks presentations, will be available via the New Cities Foundation YouTube page at the end of June. Highlights movies will be launched in July.

An E-book, containing session summaries of the entire Summit, will be posted on the NewCities website in July.


Press contact:
Thomas Ledwell
Director of Communications
+1 514 987 0029

About the NewCities Summit

Organized by NewCities, the NewCities Summit is the premier global leadership event on the future of cities. Fostering positive urban change, the high level gathering advocates cross-sector collaboration through network building, cutting-edge forums and lively discussion. The Summit showcases and disseminates the best ideas on the future of cities and generates concrete, scalable solutions capable of being adopted and replicated across the world. Following the inaugural Summit in Paris in 2012, last year’s event was hosted in São Paulo. The NewCities Summit 2014 will be hosted in Dallas, Texas, USA, from June 17 – 19.

About the NewCities Foundation

NewCities is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making cities more inclusive, connected, healthy and vibrant. Focusing on people, places and policies, we bring together a global network of public and private sector leaders and Urban Tech innovators to foster results-oriented collaboration. We also produce actionable research that can be implemented by decision-makers across sectors.
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About the AppMyCity!

Contest AppMyCity! is a competition organized by the New Cities Foundation that promotes and rewards mobile apps that improve the urban experience, connect people, and make cities more fun, fair, vibrant and sustainable places.

About the Dallas Arts District

The Dallas Arts District is a nonprofit organization stimulating the cultural and economic life of North Texas by advocating for the largest urban cultural district in the United States – comprising 20 square blocks of museums, performance halls, parks, restaurants, offices and residences. The Dallas Arts District also serves as world headquarters for the Global Cultural Districts Network in partnership with the New Cities Foundation and AEA Consulting. For more information, please visit

About the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN)

The GCDN serves to foster cooperation and knowledge-sharing between those responsible for conceiving, funding, building, and operating cultural districts; and to help to ensure that these projects are vital assets for their communities, contributing to the vitality of 21st century cities. Over the next decade, some US $250 billion will be invested in the creation of new cultural districts around the globe. A successful cultural district is not just one that is built, but one that, once built, thrives and, in thriving, animates the city or region that it serves. This holistic definition of success is central to the Network: success is not just getting an arts building or series of buildings out of the ground, it is about ensuring that they are viable and play a central role in their communities. The GCDN provides the following services for its members:

  • Regular convening to share emerging best practices, hear expert panels, and discuss the place of cultural districts in urban policy, economic development and related areas of public policy such as travel and tourism;
  • Original research on topics of common interest such as programming, audience development, cultural tourism, professional development, relevant trends in technology and creative industries strategies;
  • Regular summaries and circulation of secondary research and news of common interest;
  • Virtual forums for detailed sharing of information and discussion of opportunities and challenges;
  • Opportunities for establishing strategic partnerships for content, programming, skills training and knowledge transfer.