#3, January 1998
Future of Cities
fuel its Knowledge Development Programme, Through
the Loop has sponsored a number of seed projects
from various colleges and universities. One of
these was to look at the increasing importance of
cities and the processes used to involve, nurture
and integrate young people into the infrastructure
of the city.
megacities dominate the world’s population.
Increasing globalisation means that these cities
compete for their share of resources and
critically, in the future for young people. Young
people hold the required skilled sets of tomorrow-
and indeed they are more willing to be transitory.
multicultural group from EAP, the European
Management School, was asked to identify some
benchmark cities, particularly in Europe, where
there seemed to be innovative practices in place
to nurture and integrate young people. A sample of
seven cities were chosen and one of these was
taken from the Asian region to act as a contrast.
The students were asked to use the approach by
Rosabeth Moss Kanter in World Class e.g. the
categorisation of Thinkers, Makers and Trader
cities and move towards the identification of best
practices in the "ideal future city."
Future Importance of Cities
will become critical to understand consumer
behaviour in cities and mega-zones/ regions.
Cities represent the leading edge of social
change, often opinion leaders will be found in
greater numbers and distribution and media
channels are expected to become more city/
Makers and Traders
briefly revisit Kanter’s methodology, Thinker
Cities are described as "pre-eminent in the
first important resource of the world class:
concepts." They are characterised by
"innovation and the development of new ideas
and products that set world standards. They become
magnets for brain power." Kanter placed
Boston in this group.
focus of maker cities is executional competence.
These cities are characterised by skills that meet
"high process-quality standards and have an
infrastructure that supports high value, cost
effective production." Makers attract world
manufacturing because of their competence and they
are magnets for foreign investment. Cleveland was
identified in the US.
traders specialise in connections. They sit at a
crossroads of cultures, helping to move goods and
services from one country to another, managing the
intersections. Miami was found to be a
quintessential trader. World class regions should
demonstrate excellence in at least one of these
selected seven cities to study based on their
multicultural experience. The research process
included direct interviewing (telephone, web-based
and also internet). It should be re-emphasised
that this was a first stage project and Through
the Loop intends to extend this in the future as
part of its research and development programme.
The cities studied were: Berlin, Bilbao, Budapest,
Lyon, Oslo and Sheffield. As a complete contrast,
Bangkok was also included in the analysis with a
very different set of problems and opportunities.
of Young People
an age range of 16-25 years was taken and there
was some initial qualitative work to identify the
key needs of young people. It was not surprising
that there were some interesting social values
underlying these needs. These were determined as:
values in the late 1990s are softer in tone than
those previously solicited in the Generation X and
Digital Generation work.
Relevance of Thinkers, Makers and Traders for
was found that a thinker, maker trader city has
specific impacts on younger people:
City: Advanced research, sophisticated
City: Professional schools.
City: International opportunities.
the six European cities studied, three were found
to be closing the gap between city initiatives and
the needs of the younger people: Berlin, Budapest
and Oslo. These could be best described as the
freedom to create, political involvement,
international education, easy access to
communication and ensuring a safe and clean
environment. Berlin was also found to be in a
period of immense transition. Specific examples of
these best practices were:
Parade: new communities and new values.
City: project for unemployed young people who
bikes and rent them to tourists.
Future 2000 Forum which will focus on the needs of
presentation of interesting art experiments. Also,
continuation of coffee house culture.
Local City Council.
magnet cities of tomorrow will be driven by the
ability to match initiatives with the needs of
younger people. An adeptness will be needed to
market these skills. Cities truly will be the
creative engines of tomorrow so marketing and
media development may need to be rethought to
create this environment.
is hoped that this seed project may well be
extended to other cities in Europe.