This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise
What are cities for?
Cities are eternal. They are centres of business, culture, history and leisure. They are where most of us live, work and socialise. And more are appearing around the world, growing outwards, as the 21st Century progresses.
But cities are also under question. After almost two years of pandemic, in which we’ve been shut away in our houses and discovered new ways of working, the idea of commuting into built-up centres is less appealing for many. With the planet in the throes of a climate emergency, areas of concentrated emissions are an urgent threat. Digitisation, unattainable housing, new forms of mobility… all raise challenges for cities as they currently function.
That’s why Tortoise Media and Toronto’s Globe and Mail are once again partnering for the second annual Future of Cities Summit. Taking place virtually on Thursday 25 November, we will be bringing together the worlds of business, politics and civil society to share their thoughts and actions on the future of work, housing, transport and culture in our global cities.
How it works
Your ticket will give you access to all of the online sessions, but just like an in-person conference you can dip in and out. Recordings will be available in our members’ app the next day.
Tortoise is building a different kind of newsroom. We’re opening up journalism and giving everyone a seat at the table. The ThinkIn is the heart of what we do. It’s a forum for civilised disagreement where our members take part in live, unscripted conversations that shape the way we report the world.
The Globe and Mail offers the most authoritative news in Canada. It provides comprehensive coverage of national, political, international and business news along with arts, sports, lifestyle and obituaries.
Interested in supporting this Summit?
Who are cities for?
The stereotypical image of a modern city is one of the young people, dashing from high-rise offices to gleaming apartments to bars and restaurants. But given that the world’s population is ageing, and over half of us live in urban areas, we need to re-imagine cities as places for the retired and the elderly. It’s a mindset shift that has major implications for the way cities are designed and run. How can and should we adapt urban built environment, travel and social infrastructure to make city living work for older people?
What is London for now?
It has been estimated that 700,000 foreign workers have left the capital since the UK left the EU. The future of the City of London as a major global financial centre is in question. The West End has been brutally affected by the pandemic and hundreds of London’s cafes, bars and restaurants have closed for good. Major media companies have relocated to northern cities and there are renewed calls, as the original Palace of Westminster crumbles, to move Parliament to Manchester. Is London’s national and international brand crumbling too? Has the last few years changed the way Londoners think of themselves and the city they call home?
Net Zero: can cities deliver us from the climate crisis?
They’re home to more than half the world’s people. They generate 80 per cent of global GDP. They’re hubs of innovation, experimentation – and pollution. This is a huge problem for cities, but also a huge opportunity: they can make great strides towards Net Zero for the whole world. But how? What financial and governmental hurdles need to be overcome? Are the technical solutions lying in plain sight? Or do they still have to be invented?
What is the purpose of city centres now?
The pandemic closed shops, offices and cultural institutions. It forced millions of people to work from home. But city centres were already facing numerous economic threats and challenges, as demonstrated by the Globe and Mail’s new project on the Canadian metropolis of Calgary. The team behind that project will join us to discuss what they’ve learnt about Calgary – and what it means for cities everywhere.
Can we create enough city homes?
Rising house prices and rents have forced some people out of cities altogether. Significant amounts of public and private city housing has been left either deteriorating or empty. But most people can’t – or won’t – just leave behind their deep cultural, familial and economic urban roots. Cities, after all, are home to millions of people. The result is that now, it is not only the very poorest people who find themselves living in unpleasant, insecure and crowded conditions, or without anywhere to live at all. How can we create enough urban homes that are affordable for everyone, but also greener, more beautiful and better suited to 21st-century living? How much of the existing housing stock can be adapted and upgraded, how much has to be built from scratch? Is it even possible?