A Global Player

Dallas becomes first U.S. city to host prestigious international conference on urbanization

Dallas is first U.S. city to host prestigious international conference

Winspear Opera House in Dallas Arts District
The Winspear Opera House will host the third annual New Cities Summit June 17-19, 2014. Photo by Tim Hursley
New Cities Summit in São Paulo
The New Cities Summit was held in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013. Photo courtesy of New Cities Foundation
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at 2013 New Cities Summit
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at the 2013 New Cities Summit. Photo courtesy of New Cities Foundation
Winspear Opera House in Dallas Arts District
New Cities Summit in São Paulo
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at 2013 New Cities Summit

Paris, São Paulo, Dallas. That may seem like a listing of cities on a novelty T-shirt, but it's actually the order of the cities that will have hosted the New Cities Summit after the international convention comes to Dallas in June 2014.

The New Cities Summit is organized by the New Cities Foundation, a group that aims to find solutions to the challenges that will come with massive urbanization in the 21st century. The organization cites studies that show that cities will be home to 70 percent of the world's population by 2050.

The summits, which were previously held in Paris in 2012 and São Paulo in 2013, have brought together government officials, businesses, academic institutions and other individuals to discuss potential problems and come up with proactive programs to deal with issues like sustainability, poverty and social tolerance.

The Dallas summit, which will be held June 17-19 at the Winspear Opera House, has the title of Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis. Organizers plan to invite around 1,000 people from 40 countries to chime in on what ideas they have to help make better cities, including those from fields like healthcare, architecture and culture.

So why did organizers choose Dallas for their first American summit instead of cities with greater populations like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago? According to New Cities Foundation executive director Mathieu Lefevre, "The city leadership is very open and very aware of the global playing field on which Dallas is evolving. They’re really open-minded about looking for the best ideas."

It would appear that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was key in establishing that viewpoint, as he also attended the 2013 summit in São Paulo.

As part of the summit, organizers will give out a prize in the AppMyCity! contest, which hopes to come up with the world's best mobile application. Additionally, the Global Cultural Districts Network, a network of cultural districts from around the world that is headquartered in Dallas, will be showcased.

The 2014 summit is just the beginning of discussions about cities in Dallas that week, as Dallas will also host the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors from June 20-23, 2014.