Category: News

Cities For a Sustainable and Fair Future

In three workshop sessions with our distinguished guest speakers Wolfgang Teubner, Gesine Schwan and Cordelia Polinna, the participants of the Urban Forum discussed the role of cities in promoting civic participation, networked governance and the future of public space. Through this process, important challenges and solutions for shaping future cities were identified.

Engage Citizens in a Meaningful and Inclusive Way

The question of how to shape urban citizen participation was intensively discussed in all sessions. The city of the future should open up new spaces for participation and make use of innovative opportunities to engage citizens. Cordelia Polinna, who supports cities and local initiatives in cooperative planning processes with her company Urban Catalyst, presented examples of successful citizen participation. In Berlin, just over 200 people took part in the Bundesplatz initiative to redesign their neighbourhood.

In the subsequent discussion rounds with other urban development practitioners, factors for good participation processes were identified. Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that participation formats need to be inclusive. They should not only appeal to those who are interested in politics or who want to prevent a certain measure at all costs. Instead, diverse formats are needed that also reach other groups of citizens and, for example, meet different needs with a mixture of online and offline participation. When designing the formats, it is crucial to encourage constructive debate, for example by openly discussing specific topics instead of posing confrontational yes/no questions. Ultimately, the courage to try out new processes and to allow mistakes to be made was also promoted.  

Networked Governance with Development Advisory Boards

Gesine Schwan presented the concept of development advisory boards at the Urban Forum: Advisory bodies, which are made up of representatives of civil society and bring new ideas into local politics. These should include not only NGOs and scientists but also the local companies and involve all important stakeholders. In the advisory councils, an open, trustful dialogue environment should be established, which promotes the development of common perspectives. However, the final decision-making power would always remain with the political representatives, who would benefit from the knowledge of civil society in their decisions. Gesine Schwan also argued for stronger international networks of cities, for example to exchange best practices but also to enable societal contacts independent of national politics. Such cooperation is particularly important in the USA under President Trump.

Local Action for Global Change

Cities need to develop ideas on how they can promote the necessary decarbonisation of the economy while maintaining quality of life, argued Wolfgang Teubner in his presentation. The Regional Director Europe for ICLEI, a network of local governments for sustainable development, also emphasised the potential of public-private partnerships to mobilise financial resources for investments in sustainability. During the discussion, participants stressed that new mobility and energy concepts can only be implemented through the cooperation of many stakeholders, with cities playing an important facilitating role. In addition, the aim of strengthening regional added value was emphasised in order to contribute to greater resilience and shorter transport routes. The surrounding area of cities should always be taken into account.

However, cities and municipalities can only play their central role in building sustainable economic structures if they have the financial resources to do so. The corona crisis will affect all municipalities, but to varying degrees, which is why targeted aid is indispensable. This is why Gesine Schwan suggested that EU aid from the planned recovery fund should also go directly to municipalities.

Let's Reclaim Public Space!

One core theme became particularly clear in the discussions: after decades of privatisation and focusing on the “car-friendly city”, it is time to rediscover and revive public spaces. There were several passionate pleas for a rethinking that would re-conceptualize public space as a common good and a space for encounters. One jointly developed priority was transport infrastructure, where the focus was to shift from the provision of parking spaces to the creation of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Spaces for culture, creativity and civic exchange should also be given greater public support. With rents continuing to rise, it was suggested that consideration be given to measures such as land value levies, which would allow the profits from land ownership to benefit the general public. The debate on design and use of public spaces will be central to the city of the future.  

New Urban Progress Enters Next Phase

The results of the Urban Forum organised jointly by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and Das Progressive Zentrum will form the basis for further project design. A kick-off report will compare the topics discussed in Germany and the USA and draw initial conclusions. Project Fellows from both countries will then work on the core topics in working groups and will be able to deepen their knowledge during delegation trips to innovative German and American cities. As a result, policy papers will be produced to present the collected findings.

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Call for Young Transatlantic Fellows with an Emphasis on Urban Public Policy

New Urban Progress is revitalizing transatlantic relations by sharing best practices on how urban areas can be innovative, networked, and fair. To do so, New Urban Progress (NUP) is looking for ten citizens from Germany and ten from the United States to be part of this transatlantic dialogue.

Bridge in Berlin, Germany, used for the New Urban Progress Call for Fellows

We now, more than ever, need to strengthen the transatlantic partnership. Help us do that by becoming a New Urban Progress Fellow! The twenty Project Fellows will be the main actors of this transatlantic dialogue on the future of cities. We are looking for a diverse group of Project Fellows who meet the following criteria

  • You are a researcher, journalist, academic, practitioner, a community organizer, start-up founder, metro-level problem solver or work in city administration
  • You are a leader of tomorrow in local civic engagement and/or public policy  
  • You are a citizen of the United States or Germany under the age of 40 
  • You can commit to a two-year Fellowship that will include virtual work and road trips through the United States and Germany to visit and engage with innovative urban areas
  • You have excellent command of the English language as well as strong communication skills, both written and oral

We are accepting applications from German and US citizens on a rolling basis until July 14 (updated deadline!). The New Urban Progress Fellowship will last from Fall 2020 to Summer 2022.

There is no financial compensation for the Project Fellows. However, New Urban Progress provides an excellent platform to showcase your work as a Fellow as well as integrates you in a large transnational network of actors in the field of urban public policy. Additionally, the week-long delegation trips through the United States and Germany in 2021 will be covered financially by New Urban Progress.

New Urban Progress is the joint metro initiative of Das Progressive Zentrum, Alfred 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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Urban Forum: Entwickeln Sie mit uns eine Vision für die Zukunft deutscher Städte!

New Urban Progress ist ein Projekt, das über drei Jahre hinweg in deutschen und US-amerikanischen Städten einen fruchtbaren Ideenaustausch zum Umgang mit lokalen Herausforderungen fördert. Wie können wir inklusive, vernetzte und faire Städte von Morgen erschaffen? Beteiligen Sie sich und bringen Sie Ihre Expertise und Ideen in unsere virtuellen Workshops ein!

Die Stadt als Labor. Metropolen sind Projektionsflächen gesellschaftlicher Phänomene und geben in den USA und Europa gleichermaßen immer häufiger den Ton in politischen Diskursen an – und dies nicht nur lokal, sondern auch national. In Städten werden die wachsenden Herausforderungen sozialer und technologischer Veränderungen besonders intensiv wahrgenommen. Gleichzeitig eröffnen Städte mit ihrer Vielzahl von Akteuren und in ihrer räumlichen Ausprägung neue Gestaltungsspielräume.

Das Projekt New Urban Progress bringt Menschen mit verschiedenen Hintergründen zusammen, um eine Plattform für eine progressive Politik in urbanen Räumen entstehen zu lassen. Wir wollen transatlantische Beziehungen neu denken und ein dynamisches Netzwerk aufbauen. Daher möchten wir im Austausch mit Ihnen die Aufgaben und Potentiale von deutschen Städten und Metropolregionen diskutieren, um diese schließlich im transatlantischen Vergleich verorten und mit unserem Netzwerk teilen zu können. Nehmen Sie an den Workshops unseres digitalen Urban Forums teil und bringen Sie Ihr Fachwissen und Ihre Erfahrungen mit ein!

Das Urban Forum wird am 18., 20., und 25. Mai per Videokonferenz stattfinden. Jede Sitzung des Forums wird sich tiefgreifend mit einem Thema beschäftigen: Ein  Impulsvortrag, interaktive Arbeitsgruppen und eine moderierte Diskussionen bilden dafür den Rahmen.

 18. Mai 2020, 10:30 – 12:30 Uhr

Städte sind und waren stets Motor ökonomischen Wachstums – bis zu 80% des Bruttoinlandsproduktes werden in Städten erarbeitet. Ökonomisches Wachstum führte jahrzehntelang für die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung zu steigender Kaufkraft und damit zu einem breiteren Wohlstand. Heute zeigt sich in Städten der Wandel von einer industriellen in eine wissensbasierte und nunmehr digitale Ökonomie besonders stark. Denn von Wachstum und dem Entstehen von profitablen digitalen Unternehmen profitiert der Arbeitsmarkt in Städten nicht unbedingt im gleichen Maß, wie andere Arbeitsplätze verschwinden. Auch Unternehmensstandorte transformieren sich stärker zu Netzwerkräumen. Die damit einhergehenden flexibleren Organisations- und Lebensformen benötigen eine entsprechende Rückkoppelung in der Stadt.

  •     Wie können Städte und Unternehmen Wachstum und Innovation fördern?
  •     Wie kann in Städten durch eine breite Integration in den Arbeitsmarkt ein nachhaltiges Wirtschaftswachstum gewährleistet werden?
  •     Durch welche Formen der Arbeit und des Unternehmertums können Städte in ihrer Nachhaltigkeit und Widerstandsfähigkeit gestärkt werden?
  •     Welche Rolle spielt der Staat hierbei?

20. Mai 2020, 10:30 – 12:30 Uhr

Vielfältige und nachhaltige Netzwerke können Städte bei der Bewältigung der Herausforderungen des 21. Jahrhunderts unterstützen. Potenziale bergen zum Beispiel die Einführung erneuerbarer Energien, die zunehmende Beteiligung der Städterinnen und Städter an demokratischen Prozessen sowie die Erweiterung von Bildungsmöglichkeiten für Menschen aller Altersgruppen und sozialer Herkünfte. Wachsende Ballungsgebiete brauchen aktive und engagierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger, um den ständigen Herausforderungen gerecht zu werden.

  •     Durch welche demokratischen Beteiligungsprozesse können Städte gerechter, effizienter und wirkungsvoller für Bürgerinnen und Bürger gestaltet werden?
  •     Wie können Bürgerinnen und Bürger an lokalen demokratischen Verfahren teilhaben?
  • Welche Akteure prägen die gesellschaftlichen und ökonomischen Entwicklungen von Morgen und welche Formen des Austausches brauchen wir dafür? 

25 Mai 2020, 10:30 – 12:30 Uhr

Die Stadt wandelt sich – darin liegen Herausforderungen, aber auch große Chancen. Aber wie genau kann eine Stadt von Morgen aussehen, in der die Lebensqualität für alle hoch ist und Klimabelastungen reduziert sind? Städte und Ballungsgebiete müssen Lösungen erarbeiten, um allen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen gleiche Chancen zu bieten und so die soziale Mobilität zu fördern. Diese kann durch einen fairen Ausbau energetischer und digitaler Infrastrukturen, durch gut zugängliche öffentliche Dienstleistungen, entsprechende Regelungen im Wohnungsbau und auch durch die inklusive Gestaltung von Mobilität unterstützt werden.

Welche Konzepte aus Wirtschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft können wir in urbanen Räumen anwenden, um:

  • Chancengleichheit und soziale Mobilität in urbanen Räumen zu fördern?
  • Den ökologischen Herausforderungen der Gegenwart und Zukunft zu begegnen?

Haben Sie Interesse mitzumachen?

Die Ergebnisse aus den digitalen Workshops dieses Forums werden, zusammen mit den Erkenntnissen aus der Parallelveranstaltung in Washington D.C., in die gemeinsame Arbeit unseres transatlantischen Netzwerks im Rahmen des New Urban Progress-Projekts einfließen.

Bewerbungsfrist ist der 10. Mai 2020. Die erfolgreichen Bewerberinnen und Bewerber werden individuell per Email informiert und erhalten alle technischen Details.

Bridge in Berlin, Germany, used for the New Urban Progress Call for Fellows



Das Projekt wurde durch das Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi) gefördert.

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Networked Cities for an Inclusive Tomorrow

Cities and metropolitan areas are currently protagonists in addressing climate change, energy transitions, rising xenophobia and increases in populism. However, how well they can lead these social transformations will depend on if their own communities are inclusive and equitable. Leading actors in urban policy discussed these challenges and more at the ‘Going Local: A Transatlantic Perspective’ conference earlier this month.

Concentration of Wealth and Geographical Inequality

The United States has just under four hundred metropolitan areas, however wealth and innovation is primarily concentrated in only several metro areas around the country. Sitting on a panel, Bruce Katz (The New Localism) articulated that since the financialisation of the economy in the 1980s, cities across the United States have sent their wealth away to California, New York and Massachusetts.

This concentration of wealth has resulted in an agglomeration of innovation and geographic inequality. The trend of losing local resources and wealth makes it difficult to build cities across the country that can support opportunities for all its inhabitants.

“We need to talk about data driven analysis to shift trillions of dollars of capital back into the heartland” – Bruce Katz

Which Metrics Can Determine a City's Success?

During interactive sessions, urban policy experts and mayors debated how to determine a successful city. Amy Liu from the Brookings Institution argued that using job creation as a metric is not sufficient. A more nuanced analysis is needed that takes into account if a city has jobs available for a range of workers, and if those jobs pay living wages or provide benefits. Another worrisome employment trend for participants is the increase of contract jobs, which often do not provide sufficient job security.

This conference was part of the transatlantic dialogue series New Urban Progress, which aims to strengthen transatlantic relations through exchanges on the future of cities and metropolitan areas.

Mayors Fighting for Equitable Cities

The panel of mayors advocated for increasing access to trade and certificate programs in order to benefit a wide range of members in their communities. Concrete policies such as universal pre-school and policies that allow women to work were repeated by several of the mayors. Many were concerned on how to guarantee that new policy and developments would benefit long-term local residents and citizens without a four-year degree.

How compassionate can your city be? – Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia

Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh detailed his “Four P” metric that the city uses before giving out grants. Each grant must include details on the people, plan, place, and performance. All four elements need to be included in the grant application to ensure that the project is in the interest of the city and its inhabitants as a whole. The mayors were optimistic that they can lead cities to a more fair future.

“Cities are small and you can get things done. Implementing comes down to who are the critical partners to help target the audience.” – Mayor Bill Peduto

Cities Are Networks

The experts and mayors discussed the various sectors and actors that together can comprise and how cities are best understood as networks.

Evan Absher of the Kauffman Foundation advocated for networks over a one-size-fits-all model: “We need to be thinking on a Facebook scale, not a Walmart scale”. Many participants stated that cities running under networked governance models are able to initiate and finance necessary innovations. They highlighted that good partnerships are at the core of city networks.

About the Event: "Going Local: A Transatlantic Perspective"

Das Progressive Zentrum, along with the Progressive Policy Institute, and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft organised the conference “Going Local: A Transatlantic Perspective” in Washington D.C., on Tuesday March 10th, as part of the exploratory phase of their project New Urban Progress.

The mayors of Rochester, Richmond, Pittsburgh, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the mayor of Denver, along with urban policy experts Bruce Katz and Amy Liu contributed to the event. The goal of the conference was to debate and identify pressing challenges and solutions to creating equitable cities across the United States. A mirroring event will take place in Germany later in 2020. The results of the two conferences will serve as a comparative foundation for the transatlantic dialogue project New Urban Progress. 

New Urban Progress is a transatlantic dialogue on the future of cities and metropolitan areas. The project brings actors from both sides of the Atlantic together to work on making urban areas more networked, innovative and fair. As part of its exploratory phase, New Urban Progress is examining the main challenges for urban areas in the United States and Germany. These results will then serve as the foundation for the project’s dialogue between its fellows.

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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Going Local: A Transatlantic Perspective

New Urban Progress is working on making the cities of the future work. 100 experts will meet in Washington DC on March 10th to discuss inclusive innovation, networked governance, and social mobility in cities and metropolitan areas. Using these three themes as a framework, they will focus on identifying the current challenges US cities are facing.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and two German think tanks, Das Progressive Zentrum and Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, have joined forces on a three-year, comparative study of metro innovation. Please join us March 10, 2020 at the Line Hotel in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. launch of the project, New Urban Progress.


Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Banneker Room at The LINE Hotel DC
1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
8:00 AM to 2:00 PM


The launch will feature conversations with prominent urban leaders and mayors, including:

  • Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond, VA
  • Former Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, MO

The program will also include a growing list of top metro analysts and practitioners

  • Bruce Katz – The New Localism
  • Amy Liu – Brookings Institution Metro Center
  • Steven Bosaker – GMF Cities
  • Joda Thongnopnua – Metro Ideas Project, Chattanooga
  • Sonya R. Porter – Census Bureau

The aim of New Urban Progress is to study and compare notes on creative metro problem-solving in three U.S. cities and three German cities. The March 10 forum will focus on the project’s three main organizing themes:

  1. How cities can promote inclusive innovation and growth (including digital transformation and energy transition)
  2. How cities are pioneering networked governance that taps a broad array of civic actors to get things done
  3. How cities deal with the challenges of social mobility (including education, skill acquisition and affordable housing)
At a time when Washington seems politically and financially incapacitated, we advocate for a “flexible federalism” that shifts more decisions and resources to Mayors and other local leaders. PPI is a strong proponent of “going local”, and together with our German partners, we’ll spend the next three years highlighting metro innovations with the aim of sparking a cross-fertilization of ideas for local initiative and ground-up problem-solving.


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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New Urban Progress in the United States and Germany

New Urban Progress has entered its exploration stage. By embarking on a transatlantic exchange on metro innovations dealing with the future of work, democracy, and well-being, we want to explore how German and U.S. cities are preparing themselves to be metropolitan areas of the future. We want to first define the challenges facing cities and urban areas in three thematic fields – inclusive growth and innovation, networked governance, social mobility – and then identify policy approaches and citizen initiatives aiming to overcome these.

To do so, we are inviting researchers, activists, members of local governments and other stakeholders involved in metropolitan affairs from Germany and the U.S. to help us sketch country-oriented landscapes of the most common and urgent challenges that cities and metro areas face, as well as the approaches applied in each country to tackle them. Understanding the context of urban policies and the current innovations will lay the groundwork for further project activities. The outcomes from Germany and the U.S. will be compared and complemented by desk research and literature reviews to find a common framework to launch a hands-on, future-oriented transatlantic dialogue on an urban agenda.

The State of Urban America

The first kick-off event took place in Washington DC, on March 10th, 2020. Mayors, metro and urban policy experts, and a delegation from Germany met to discuss the pressing issues that urban areas in the United States face. Learn more about the conference and read the report, below. 

Digital Urban Forum on German Cities

In light of the coronavirus, the kick-off in Germany will take place online over the span of three days. This digital Urban Forum will comprise of three sessions, which each will include a keynote speaker, moderated discussions, breakout sessions and a closing talk.

About New Urban Progress

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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New Urban Progress Announces Sounding Board

New Urban Progress is pleased to announce its Sounding Board! The team is made up of seven transatlantic and metropolitan policy professionals, who will guide the project with their expertise. New Urban Progress supports transatlantic conversations on the future of cities while rethinking transatlantic relations.

The transatlantic sounding board is comprised of seven professionals from Germany and the United States. The group of experts includes a state level German politician, researchers working at the Harvard Kennedy School, John Hopkins University and the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, as well as leaders in the private sector, and other transnational actors. Together, this diverse team will act as an anchor for the entire project with their transatlantic and metropolitan policy expertise.  

The New Urban Progress team is happy to have the support of such a well-rounded sounding board. Their two main objectives will be to circulate the project’s content through their professional networks and assist the project with selecting its twenty fellows. Their collective expertise and direction will help mold the work and results into impactful conclusions. Additionally, their diverse networks will ensure that there is sufficient collaboration and conversation between the fellows, the project and other leading actors in working on transatlantic and metropolitan policy issues to produce meaningful transatlantic and metropolitan policy.

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is a member of the New Urban Progress Sounding Board.

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is the founding Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and, since January 2018, the Executive Director of The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). She is a German and US-American national with expert knowledge of  EU-US relations and digital public policy in urban and national contexts. She holds a B.A. from Brown University in International Relations, M.A. from London School of Economics in European Studies and a M.A. from Harvard Kennedy School in Public Administration. As an academic, amongst other honors, she was named a Truman National Security Fellow in 2011, a Munich Young Leader for the Munich Security Council in 2014, and a 2017 Eisenhower Fellow for her leadership on urban issues in international relations. [She has also served on the Board of the European Committee on Leadership in Science, Innovation and Cultural Diplomacy (EL-CSID), as well as the HKS Alumni Board of Directors.] Besides this outstanding academic track-record, Clüver Ashbrook has had a long-standing career as a journalist and a civil servant, advising foreign ministries and international organizations across the globe on questions of digital strategy and institutional reform. Next to providing expert commentary for news outlets such as CNN-international, NPR, the BBC, Frankfurter Allgemeine, ARD, Deutschlandfunk, and the Wall Street Journal, she has frequently been invited as an expert panelist by numerous organisations including the Aspen Institute, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Daniel S. Hamilton is a member of the New Urban Progress Sounding Board.

Daniel S. Hamilton is currently the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Professor at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he co-leads the Program on “The United States, Europe and World Order” at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, working in partnership with the SAIS Kissinger Center for Global Affairs. He also serves as Director of the Atlantic Basin Initiative, which explores how globalization is affecting the four Atlantic continents. Hamilton has served as Founding Director of the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations, Executive Director of the American Consortium on EU Studies, and as a senior diplomat in the U.S. Department of State. For 40+ summers he has been Dean of Waldsee, the oldest and largest residential immersion program of German language and culture in North America, sponsored by Concordia Language Villages.

The picture portrays Bruce Katz, founder of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab and member of the New Urban Progress Sounding Board.

Bruce J. Katz is the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Katz regularly advises global, national, state, regional and municipal leaders on public reforms and private innovations that advance the well-being of metropolitan areas and their countries. He graduated from Brown University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1981, and continued his education by earning his J.D. from Yale Law School. Prior to his current position, he served as inaugural Centennial Scholar at The Brookings Institution and as vice president and director of Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program for 20 years. He is a member of the RSA City Growth Commission in the United Kingdom and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Katz previously served as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs. Katz co-led the Obama administration’s housing and urban transition team. He is co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution and The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism, editor or co-editor of several books on urban and metropolitan issues, and a frequent media commentator. 

Amy Liu is a member of the New Urban Progress Sounding Board

Amy Liu is vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy. She is a national expert on cities and metropolitan areas adept at translating research and insights into action on the ground. As director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, which Liu co-founded in 1996, she pioneered the program’s signature approach to state and local engagements, which uses rigorous research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunity. Liu has worked directly on such strategies with scores of public, private, and philanthropic sector leaders in regions around the country, including Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, San Diego, and Birmingham. Liu also has extensive experience working with states and the federal government to develop policies and strategies to support cities and metropolitan areas. In 2013, Liu served as a special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, guiding policy priorities related to trade, innovation, and data. Prior to her work at Brookings, Liu was Special Assistant to HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and staffed the U.S. Senate Banking Committee’s subcommittee on housing and urban affairs.

Almut Möller is a member fo the New Urban Progress Sounding Board.

Almut Möller currently holds the position of the State Secretary and Plenipotentiary of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg to the Federation, the European Union, and for foreign affairs. She studied Political Science, Constitutional Law, and Modern and Contemporary History at the Universities of Münster, Aix-en-Provence (France) and Munich, and graduated with a Master of Arts in 2002. Between 2002 and 2008 Möller was a research associate at the Centre for Applied Policy Research (CAP) at the LMU University of Munich which included research stays at the Renmin University of China (Peking), the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (Cairo), and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. She subsequently worked two years in London as an independent publicist and analyst. In 2010 Möller was appointed the Head of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP e.V.) in Berlin. From 2015 to 2019 she was Head of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Bret Perkins is a member of the New Urban Progress Sounding Board.

Bret Perkins serves as Vice President of External and Government Affairs for Comcast Corporation. He is a Business Administration graduate from Temple University and currently responsible for local government affairs, strategic partnerships with state and local intergovernmental associations, and national policy advocacy organizations. Perkins  joined Comcast in 2001 and has managed local government affairs while the Company grew from operating in 2,500 communities to 6,000 communities. Prior to joining Comcast, he served as Vice President of System Services and Assistant to the President at Mercy Health System in Pennsylvania and worked in legislative affairs at Keystone Mercy/AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan and with the North Philadelphia Health System. In 2008, Perkins received the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for Young Leadership, one of the cable industry’s highest honors for its next generation of leaders. Bret is a Trustee of Temple University and serves on the board of Temple University Health System.  He is a past Chair and a member of the Board of The Committee of Seventy, and a member of the boards of Visit Philadelphia, PIDC, New Deal Leaders, and the New Leaders Council.

Wolfgang Teubner is a member of the NUP Sounding Board.

Wolfgang Teubner is the ICLEI Regional Director for Europe and also the Managing Director (CEO) of the ICLEI European Secretariat. He is responsible for the strategic and economic development of the ICLEI in Europe. He has more than 25 years of professional experience working with local governments on sustainable urban development, climate adaptation and mitigation, Local Agenda21, waste management, as well as sustainable urban transport policies. During his career he has been involved in more than 150 European and international projects, including several research activities. In the period between 1994 and 1999 he coordinated the ICLEI‘s European Cities for Climate Protection Campaign and ICLEI‘s European Local Agenda 21 Guidance and Training Programme. From the start in 1994 he has been involved in the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign and has participated in the drafting of the Aalborg Charta as well as the Aalborg Commitments and the 2016 Basque Declaration. Between 1999 and 2004 he has represented the Local Government sector on the European Environment and Health Committee and has been a speaker at many high-level international events including the European Council of Ministers.

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New Urban Progress Steering Committee

The Steering Committee gathers representatives of all three Project Partners and ensures a timely and effective implementation of the initiative.

Dominic Schwickert has been the Executive Director of Das Progressive Zentrum since 2012. He has proven expertise in the field of political and strategic consulting. Dominic worked i.a. for Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Bertelsmann Stiftung, IFOK GmbH, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, German Bundestag as well as for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. He was John F. Kennedy Memorial Policy Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University in fall 2017.

Dr. Maria Skóra is Head of Programme International Relations at Das Progressive Zentrum. She is also actively involved in the Progressive Governance (#PGS) event series. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology and a PhD in economics. 2018 Alumna of Young Leaders Program of the Aspen Institute Central Europe in Prague. 2019 Visiting Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and AICGS, John Hopkins University in Washington DC. She formerly worked for the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, Berlin and supported the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions as an expert. Earlier, she was also involved in the activities of the United Nations Development Programme Project Office in Warsaw.

Elisabeth Mansfeld has been responsible for the project area Cities since 2017. Prior to this, she spent nine years as project manager in the Chief Operating Office of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division. And as an expert for microfinancing, she has supervised projects in China and Mexico.

Dr. Claudia Kristine Huber has been in charge of the project area Europe since 2018. Prior to this, she was responsible for the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft’s former project area International Relations. The mediatisation of European politics has long been a key interest, both as a master’s student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and while studying for her doctorate at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (HU Berlin) and Hamburg University. Previously, Claudia Huber held positions at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at Google Germany.

Neel Brown is the Director of External Affairs at The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) in Washington, DC. Neel engages stakeholders and decision makers to facilitate policy discussions on federal, state, and local issues. Before joining PPI, Neel was the President of Legis Media, an advocacy communications firm that he founded in 2004. He has extensive experience in advocacy advertising, grassroots organization, and coalition building. He spent over seven years working on Capitol Hill and political campaigns. Neel lives in Arlington, VA with his wife and daughter and spends his spare time teaching music and performing in a local bluegrass band.

Dane Stangler joined the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) as Director of Policy Innovation. He is the Head of Policy for Startup Genome, a global leader in ecosystem research and evidence-based policy making which uses a holistic model to assess and grow the economic success of startup ecosystems around the world. Formerly the Vice President for Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, he has written and published in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Washington Monthly, and more, and is a trusted expert in the United States Senate on the topics of entrepreneurship and economic growth. At Startup Genome, Mr. Stangler is working to enhance their Lifecycle Model which aims to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world, inform policies to strengthen them, and overall improve the policy environment for startups and entrepreneurship.

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Rejuvenating Transatlantic Dialogue from the Bottom-Up

The project “New Urban Progress: Transatlantic Dialogue on the Future of Work, Democracy, and Well-being” has launched. Two countries, two road trips, four conferences, ten cities, and 20 program fellows: all to reimagine transatlantic relations and collaboratively work on policies that will positively impact cities on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The New Urban Progress project will compare metropolitan regions that have emerged as hubs of public innovation and collaborative problem-solving, and use the results as frameworks to build inclusive, innovative, digital, and diverse cities. This work will be dialogue-based: we want to engage young Germans and U.S.-Americans in a conversation on contemporary social, cultural and economic phenomena present in all post-industrial multicultural societies.

The task at hand cannot be any more urgent. Both the United States and Europe are confronting a rising tide of illiberal populism that needs a bold, creative and collaborative response. We believe that cities are rising actors of global policies that are capable of delivering the necessary answers and thus can serve as a great vehicle for both relaunching transatlantic dialogue and building cities that work for all. 

Three organizations have joined forces to achieve this goal: Das Progressive Zentrum and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft in Germany as well as the Progressive Policy Institute in the United States. 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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