Rob Speyer recently discussed the significance of worldwide collaboration among mayors around the globe at the Urban Land Institute’s recent 2016 Asia Pacific Summit, which took place in Shanghai, China.
“From Shenzhen to Rio, from Los Angeles to Shanghai, these smart mayors can drive big change, because mayors are often in a better position than even national leaders to help each other get things done,” said Speyer. “We’ve all seen it. When a head of state wants to work with another head of state, it can take a long time. On the other hand, when a mayor wants to work directly with another mayor, they can get things done quickly. They can cut through the bureaucracy, the protocol, even the geopolitics.”
Speyer highlighted the importance of mayors to actively engage colleagues from throughout the world to improve their respective cities, noting the connections made between the mayors of Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai when talking about developing cities of the future.
“Mayor Garcetti is tackling the age-old L.A. problem of traffic — with Shanghai ideas,” he said. “They invested heavily in building public transit, encouraging people to leave their cars and take buses and subways, easing the gridlock. In recent decades, Shanghai has built public transportation to replace private cars, and they’ve invested heavily in development around transit hubs, making a more livable city.”
Speyer called on city mayors to start addressing their excessive traffic and pollution issues before it’s too late.
“We need mayors with energy, confidence, a sense of destiny — mayors who can help all of us see around those corners,” said Speyer. “Because in our increasingly smart world, filled with smartphones and smart cars, a smart city needs a smart mayor.”
Rob Speyer’s whole speech can be viewed below: