Reconceptualizing Cities

It’s a new Golden Era for cities. Wealth and enterprise are flooding in as never before — particularly into cities that can articulate compelling raisons d’êtres.

Instead of being known for catchy names or attractions (think Big Apple), urban planners from Rome to Beijing are developing plans and brands that look from the inside out. These efforts concentrate on a city’s greatest strengths and growth possibilities. For example, Barcelona swept away old industrial districts to rebuild a new glossy city. Madrid remade its huge meatpacking district into a municipal arts center, creating a new cultural life force. The Rockefeller Foundation supports resilience in cities across the world to promote these types of initiatives. At a time when more than half the world’s people live in cities, and nearly half of the next decade’s economic growth will take place in just 400 cities, resilience equals Cities 2.0. Which cities are savvy enough to look within to unleash their brand’s power?