Category: News

Fellow Focus: Alison and Julian

Alison Noehrbass and Julian St. Patrick Clayton are part of the New Urban Progress Fellowship Cohort. Alison works as a Business Development Executive at Commonplace in London on place-based engagement and consultation. Julian is the Deputy Director for Policy and Research at the Center for New York City Neighbourhoods. For both, cities are the perfect environment to support change and innovation, and to foster community between people from different cultures. Hear them introduce themselves and why they are passionate about urban connections: 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Maria Willett and Marc Lendermann hereTo catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Metro Diplomacy and Working towards City-Centered Transatlantic Relations

Two weeks after the 2020 US Election, Almut Möller (State Secretary of Hamburg, Germany) and Stephen Benjamin (Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina) discussed how cities have been developing into transatlantic changemakers. The conversation illustrated how social and economic ties between cities have been able to complement, and at times replace, classical transatlantic relations between Germany and the United States. 

A Stronger Transatlantic Partnership

In a lively exchange, Secretary Möller and Mayor Benjamin laid out how cities are emerging as transatlantic actors. As cities on both sides of the Atlantic tackle issues ranging from the pandemic to the climate crisis, the city leaders looked back on lessons learned from the past years and forward to a new chapter under a Biden administration. 

Underlying the conversation was a comparative analysis on how metro areas can most effectively operate within their respective federal structure. With urban areas representing large portions of both countries’ population and economic output, the relationship between central governments and city leaders will be crucial to addressing society’s greatest challenges.

The panelists articulated that cities have inherent democratic qualities that qualify them as strong transatlantic actors. Fundamentally, they have the ability to cultivate sustainable economic, political and social networks that are representative of their communities. And cities are democratically robust as an administrative unit in close proximity to its citizens.

“Cities are born, they are living, breathing organisms, that almost compel you to focus on the needs of the whole body, not just particular political interests” – Mayor Benjamin

Columbia and Hamburg as Transatlantic Cities

The two city leaders detailed how Columbia and Hamburg have mediated international relations for years. Columbia is a major military hub, with more than half of the US military trained at bases in the region before heading off on deployment and one of its partner city’s is Kaiserslautern, a small city home to many US troops stationed in Germany. Columbia is the capital of South Carolina, the state with the highest amount of European direct investment and home to BMW and Michelin. The state capital also demonstrated its global commitment by pledging to work towards the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, even after President Trump’s withdrawal.

“It all starts with dialogue, particularly focused on one specific data point, for example economic investment from X country, or intellectuals or professors at universities or colleges. Every community has that with some other community abroad, and there is an opportunity there to start digging a little deeper and see where synchronicity exists” – Mayor Benjamin

Hamburg, as a city-state in the German Federation and with an international tradition as one of the major cities of the Hanseatic League, has a long history as an international actor. Almut Möller represents the city to the Federation of Germany, the European Union and international networks. Hamburg also works with nine partner cities, including Chicago in the United States. Secretary Möller stated that Hamburg places a large focus on developing wider networks of cities to address issues ranging from innovation to mobility.

Transitioning to the Biden Administration and the next Era of Transatlanticism

Urgently awaiting the next administration, the Secretary and Mayor gave examples on how they have filled the void of transatlantic cooperation at the national level the past several years. Mayor Benjamin met with the German Ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber, who was meeting with many local leaders to supplement her diplomatic work with the Federal Government. Secretary Möller emphasized how Hamburg engaged with US cities: she was in contact with Hamburg’s sister city Chicago and Mayor Lightfoot to exchange ideas and methods to address the coronavirus pandemic. Secretary Möller also named Mayor Tschentscher’s initiative to sign the 2018 Chicago Climate Charter in support of the Paris agreement. 

As the United States transitions to a Biden administration, Mayor Benjamin sees an urgency in improving the relationship between cities and the Federal Government when addressing the coronavirus. Large sources of funding and support to metro and city level governments have been withheld, forcing leaders like himself to turn to local partnerships and form networks that are able to sufficiently support the community during the economic downturn as well as limited space in the hospitals.

Federalism, Collaboration, and the Coronavirus

Secretary Möller described the political structure in Germany as collaborative federalism, meaning that not only the German States, but also the larger German cities collaborate with the Federal level. Additionally, especially during the pandemic, the EU has sought a closer connection to city-level decision-making. It has been important for Hamburg as a city-state to engage with the Federal government to garner access to health services and funds to alleviate covid damages. It will be important, however, to compare and reflect on how Federal systems can best address the looming post-crisis economic challenges.

“Cohesiveness brings peace, that is a very important idea and to strive towards that is also very important for a city like Hamburg: We can only be as strong as our regional environment, national environment, and European environment.” – Secretary Möller

On the other side of the Atlantic, Mayor Benjamin noted the difficulties of learning from and addressing the pandemic while at the same time fighting it and all of its repercussions. He argued for the importance of humanizing the data that informs the public health policy and for local leaders to invest in adequately explaining policy decisions. The biggest lesson has been that it is possible to form new networks in times of need – this was done out of necessity due to a lack of state and federal support. Moving forward, cities need support from the federal government and the space to implement their funding as their democratic leaders best see fit.

“The only way that we can get out of this, is if we do this together” – Mayor Benjamin

This conversation took place as part of the transatlantic dialogue New Urban Progress. The event began by launching Cities as Transatlantic Changemakers, a working paper based on the findings from the project’s kick-off conferences in the United States and Germany. After introducing the working paper, the panel discussion with Almut Möller and Stephen Benjamin, moderated by Will Marshall, began. This was followed by a Q&A session. The project New Urban Progress will now continue with the Fellows beginning to work and expand on the most pressing urban issues ahead of us.

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Fellow Focus: Marc and Maria

Get to know Maria Willett and Marc Lendermann in this week’s Fellow Focus! Maria is the Chief of Staff for the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan and Marc works for the German Consulate General in San Francisco. Both are passionate about cities as incubators for innovation, hear them tell you about the impact metro cooperation can have in creating a better and more sustainable future: 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Friedrich Paulsen and Grace Levin hereTo catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Cities as Transatlantic Changemakers: Working Paper

Cities as Transatlantic Changemakers - Seeking Common Ground for a Progressive Future

2020 started with the urgent challenges of mitigating climate change, soothing disaffection with democracy, and easing anxiety about jobs disappearing due to technological progress. Little did we know all these concerns would only become more pronounced with the emergence of the global pandemic of COVID19, affecting all, but not everybody equally. 

Alongside every other nation in the world, both Germany and the United States have to deal with the challenges described. In a multilateral world, where cooperation is a key to success, these common difficulties can only be overcome by exchanging best practices and building enough political will and trust in order to tackle them together.

We believe that cities and metropolitan areas play an ever more important role in sustaining and further developing the close historical, cultural, economic and political ties between the United States and Germany.

Title Page of our Working Paper

About the Paper

This working paper was written based on the results of two conferences held earlier this year in the United States and Germany, focusing on the most pressing issues ahead of cities today when it comes to inclusive growth, sustainability, democratic governance. We want to reflect upon the challenges that cities and metropolitan areas in both countries are facing today, look beyond their local level activity and identify these urban spaces as internationally relevant actors, capable of not only tackling global challenges at the local level, but also strengthening the transatlantic alliance from the bottom up. 

This working paper sets the scene for further activities within the New Urban Progress project, bringing together German and U.S. perspectives in a spirit of mutual understanding and the pursuit of a common goal: making German and U.S. cities transatlantic changemakers and trendsetters for a more prosperous future.

About the Authors

This paper was written by members of the New Urban Progress Steering Committee, each bringing focal points crucial for their organizations and sharing their unique expertise on co-creating a robust and bold vision of urban futures.

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Fellow Focus: Andrea and Steffen

The next pair of our Fellows we are introducing you to are Steffen Haake and Andrea Gonzales. Steffen is a Political Scientist and Consultant, and is also part of the City Council of Aurich, in the Northwest of Germany. Andrea is from Phildadelphia, PA and works at Widener University focusing on economic development and independence for immigrant communities. Hear what Steffen and Andrea think the role of cities in shaping the future should be below: 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Ian Lundy and Sinaida Hackmack here. To catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Fellow Focus: Sinaida and Ian

Meet another two of our Fellows: Ian Lundy and Sinaida Hackmack. Sinaida is a PhD candidate at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance researching urban and mobility governance. Ian works for the New York City Housing Authority on partnerships between the public and private sector. Hear them tell you why they think cities should take a leading role in the future of transatlantic relations and in political innovation. 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Andrea Jonas and Victoria Boeck here. To catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Invitation: Metro Diplomacy – Cities as Transatlantic Changemakers

On November 3, both presidential as well as General Election took place in the United States. How can their outcomes affect the global role of cities? Join us for a conversation about a new era of multilateralism from the bottom-up with Almut Möller, State Secretary of Hamburg and Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina.

For the past four years, transatlantic relations have found an emerging voice in cities. To facilitate the debate on the role of cities within this context, New Urban Progress is launching a paper that details overarching challenges as well as opportunities for urban environments in Germany and the United States. We look at how local governments are tackling common challenges: inclusive innovation and growth, climate change, immigration, racial disparities.

Creative metro leaders and partnerships have turned metros into laboratories of public innovation and responsive government. We want to encourage them to reach beyond national borders to compare notes with their peers in other countries. A new metro diplomacy would draw upon the deep traditions of German and U.S. federalism to engage city leaders in dialogues aimed at regenerating democracy from the ground up.

Join us for a panel discussion on Monday, 16 November 2020,
at 14.00 – 15.30 CET / 8.00 – 9.30 AM EDT
with
Almut Möller, State Secretary and Representative of the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg to the Federal Government, the EU and for Foreign Affairs
and
Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Vice-President of the Global Parliament of Mayors & former President of the United States Conference of Mayors.

 

Registration closes on Friday, Nov. 13. 2020. For late registrations, please contact us at nup@progressives-zentrum.org

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Fellow Focus: Victoria and Andrea

Our Fellow Focus this week features Victoria Boeck from the Technologiestiftung Berlin and Andrea Jonas from the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs, and Spatial Development. Watch the video below to hear about the role they think cities can play in facing global challenges and implementing innovative ideas. 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Friedrich Paulsen and Grace Levin hereTo catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Fellow Focus: Grace and Friedrich

This week’s Fellow Focus introduces Grace Levin from the US and Friedrich Paulsen from Germany. Grace works as a community organizer in the city of Austin, Texas and Friedrich is the political representative for the German Saving Banks Association in Berlin. Hear why they think cities are important for transatlantic relationships and why that gives them hope. 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Find last week’s Fellow Focus about Francesca Weber-Newth and Richard Lawrence Jr. hereTo catch the other videos and learn about our fellows, follow this space here, or @AHG_Berlin@DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

 

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Fellow Focus: Francesca and Richard

The twenty New Urban Progress Fellows work on both sides of the Atlantic on a wide variety issues, from housing to the influence of climate change on cities. 

This week’s ‘Fellow Focus’ is on Francesca Weber-Newth from the Tempelhof Projekt in Berlin and Richard Lawrence Jr., Principal Planner for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. In the video below, they introduce themselves and explain why they are passionate about cities and their role in transatlantic relations. 

Each Monday until the end of the year, we will be showcasing two of our fellows from the United States and Germany with a short video. Follow this space here or @AHG_Berlin, @DPZ_Berlin and @ppi on Twitter to catch all ten videos and learn about our fellows. 

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive ZentrumAlfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Progressive Policy Institute.

The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).

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