Detroit and Bedrock selected to host new Centre for Urban Transformation

The World Economic Forum will be partnering with Detroit real estate company Bedrock to establish a new center to research the future of city planning, hoping to build on ways that urban centers can prepare for climate change and increase living quality.

The Global Centre for Urban Transformation is intended to guide cities and businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic while also building on improving societal inequities and preparing for more severe weather. 

Detroit was selected as the host city because it "is uniquely positioned to serve as the epicenter for this work - a hub for urban transformation and innovation," read a release from Bedrock. 

"As we chart a course towards a more sustainable and equitable future, the government cannot carry this burden alone," said Jeff Merritt, head of the Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum. 

What will be done?

According to Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, the majority of citizens will be living in a large city in the next ten years. Both Bedrock and the WEF are acting to plan for that shift in population.

"We need an urgent change in mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization to ensure nobody is left behind. We look forward to working with the World Economic Forum to advance the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable," he said.

In October the new centre will launch with a variety of events and presentations that show guests ways to innovate urban areas of the city. More work will also be done out of Beijing, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. 

The Centre will be housed inside Bedrock-owned properties in downtown Detroit with plans to one day open in the Gratiot Site, sometimes called the Innovation District. 

"The World Economic Forum could have chosen any city in the world to locate its global Centre for Urban Transformation, and we are proud they chose Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "In Detroit, we have always solved major issues and expanded opportunity through innovation and partnership and that is exactly what the Centre for Urban Transformation seeks to do on a global scale. We are thrilled they will be doing it from right here in Detroit."