New Urban Progress In Action

After three years of transatlantic exchange, two trips, ten cities, and four conferences, the New Urban Progress fellows debate main takeaways on stage, put their ideas to the test, and discuss how cities can continue being key places of progress for local communities and the transatlantic partnership.  

Urban Power: Uniting Progressives in Cities & Across Regions

To debate some of the main conclusions of the New Urban Progress (NUP) fellowship, NUP fellows Richard Lawrence Jr. and Maria Willet pitched their working group’s action paper The NOVA Cities Index: Unlocking Urban Power to Mayor Rosenberg, of Wausau, Wisconsin and Berlin District Councilwoman Julie Richier. The two leaders represent a rural and highly urban area, respectively, and both had plenty to comment. Watch the whole session (including introductory remarks by the moderator Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook) for a lively conversation on how urban areas across the United States and Germany can deliver on local, regional, and transatlantic progress.  

Reflecting on Main Lessons and Paths Forward

After the main stage debate, a group of urban experts joined the NUP fellows in a breakout session to discuss the three year New Urban Progress fellowship. Topics ranged from cities as a transatlantic actor with an introduction by Almut Möller, State Secretary and Plenipotentiary of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, to the housing crises that so many cities are facing, to general reflections from NUP fellows Ian Lundy, Julian St. Patrick Clayton, and Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, Ulrich Hörning, on how cities can get better at going beyond words and implementing progressive policies that benefit all. Watch the entire session below.  

Almut Möller
“Foreign affairs is not something that can be taken for granted. It has to deliver to local communities.”

Julian St. Patrick Clayton
“As a city you have to find who you are, your mission statement, your guiding principles, your ethos as a city – after that you fight like hell to maintain that vision. You come back to the drawing board, […] you never lose sight of who you are there, because that is the only thing helping you to get where you want to be.”

Ulrich Hörning
“The key transatlantic takeaway for me is the role of capturing values through property taxes. This is something completely underdeveloped in Germany.“

From left to right: Ian Lundy, Julian St. Patrick Clayton & Ulrich Hörning

New Urban Progress fellows, steering committee members, and sounding board member Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook. (Excluding other fellows who followed along online!). 

Forward with New Urban Progress

The New Urban Progress fellowship began in 2019 and at a time when there were many doubts about the future of the transatlantic partnership. The fellowship’s mission has been to bring together young urban leaders not only to exchange best practices on how to make cities more innovative, democratic, and sustainable, but also to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States. As the fellowship comes to a close, the two concluding sessions took place during yet again a volatile moment for the transatlantic partnership.  One month before the midterms in the United States and with climate change, inflation, and the war in Ukraine still real challenges, the value of exchanging best practices at the city level, while strengthening ties between democratic actors in the two countries remain clear. 

For more concluding thoughts and lessons learned from the fellowship, watch the New Urban Progress Documentary and read the NOVA Cities Index: Unlocking Urban Power action paper.