World Towns Leadership Summit, 15-16 June 2016, Edinburgh

This is a reblog from Scotland’s Towns Partnership, about what I think should be an important and interesting event in Edinburgh in June:


Join international town and urban leaders for a world first, taking place in Scotland in June 2016.  Organised by ATCM, BIDs Scotland, IDA and Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the World Towns Leadership Summit will discuss the evolving nature of civic governance and the changing economic drivers for successful place-making.

Across the world, the State is shrinking. Urgent action is essential if we are to make our places better.  What are the new alliances and approaches we need to develop to achieve a strong competitive economy combined with a fairer, more equal society?

Discussing this will be the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, leading on what a fairer Scotland should look like in 2030 and how to make this vision a reality.  We will also hear from a range of internationally recognised leaders and thinkers including, Mayor George Ferguson, Bristol City CouncilBulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO, The Cape Town Partnership,Tina Saaby, Copenhagen’s City Architect, international economist Michael Shuman and Michael Smith, Chair of the International Downtown Association.

This global conversation will result in a published World Towns Agreement – ‘A Public-Private-Social Vision for Urban Centres’.  Issued in advance to delegates and further refined at the Summit, it will have input from the United Nations Habitat Future of Places Programme, the World Economic Forum, URBACT, the International Economic Development Council, the Academy of Urbanism and the OECD.

This call to action is now vital. Towns are a key element of global urban infrastructure. At the scale of nations, they are nodes of labour force, distinct local production and tourism. Towns, while distinct from entire cities, share many traits with urban neighbourhoods outside the city centre. Across regions, networks of towns connect people and infrastructure at scale. Towns and neighbourhoods matter to the transformation of modern economies, promising value; blending local and global opportunities. But, the town narrative is less well articulated than cities. Towns suffer. Transformation is stalled. The promise of a networked urban system, with choices, to support an increasingly diverse society is not met with the support and investment to deliver the reality. Towns are dealing with social migration at a scale previously even unknown to cities; the supporting infrastructure is not there and the response has been chaotic. Amongst the challenge lies opportunity. Across the world, towns and neighbourhoods are in this struggle. They are the largest scale for community, and the smallest scale for urbanity.

So, what can we learn from each other and how do we collaborate on shared areas of concern?

Full details are available at including the programme which is also available here.

Bookings can be made by following this link: Join our global discussion at Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, Scotland, 15 – 16 June 2016.  

The World’s Towns Leadership Summit 2016 is being organised by:

About Leigh Sparks

I am Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, where I research and teach aspects of retailing and retail supply chains, alongside various colleagues. I am Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. I am also a Deputy Principal of the University, with responsibility for Education and Students.
This entry was posted in Government, Leadership, Places, Public Realm, Scotland's Towns Partnership, Social Inequality, Social Justice, Towns, Urban and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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