Theme Workshops

On Thursday, October 17, the Congress was organized into five Theme Workshops to more deeply examine post-industrial cities. Delegates had the opportunity to discuss the future of post-industrial cities from the perspective of one assigned theme.

Four common themes were addressed in
all five Workshops:

Sustainability (physical, economic, and social)
Wise allocation of increasingly scarce public and private financial resources ("doing more with less")
Equity (social, economic, and environmental)
Public engagement (inclusion, transparency, and accountability)

Each Workshop met first for presentations of the city case studies and thought leader talks. They then broke into three smaller Study Teams for two facilitated working sessions. They re-convened at the end of the afternoon for report-outs and deliberations.

Workshop 1

Re-Positioning the Post-Industrial City in the
Global Economy

The global economy has had a profound impact on cities. The goal of this Workshop was to build a comprehensive economic agenda for post-industrial cities. Delegates assessed the economic condition of post-industrial cities, explored challenges and successful models for economic revitalization that leverage unique characteristics of place, examined how emerging industries and the new economy were being leveraged in innovative ways to build the post-industrial economy, and discussed issues and opportunities to prepare and equip a workforce capable of taking advantage of new economic opportunities. (Case studies: Bilbao, Spain; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Workshop 2

Post-Industrialism and the Physical City

The goal of this Workshop was to produce a community-building strategy for the post-industrial city. Delegates considered the urban design and patterns of development in post-industrial cities, regions and neighborhood building blocks that included discussions of housing, preservation, and innovative infill development strategies, as well as the consideration of industrial legacies and their inherent challenges in urban regeneration. (Case studies: Ruhr Valley, Germany; Buffalo, New York)

Workshop 3

The 21st Century City as an Innovation Hub

The goal of this Workshop was to produce a forward-looking innovation agenda for the post-industrial city. Delegates explored the use of innovative technological applications for creative problem-solving, technological innovations to aggregate data and engage citizens in the collection and analysis process, the important role of civic innovators and the use of the creative arts in placemaking, as well as equitable access to technology, data, and technical jobs—the Digital Divide. (Case studies: Manchester/ Liverpool Region, England; Toronto/ Hamilton/ Kitchener/ Waterloo Region, Canada)

Workshop 4

Urban Systems, Infrastructure, and the Post-Industrial City

The goal of this Workshop was to build an integrative strategy for urban systems and infrastructure in the post-industrial city. Delegates developed strategic thinking around value-added infrastructure that includes water, transportation, and other urban systems; the role of energy at the site, district, and city scale; and the place of ecological systems in the post-industrial city, including the reuse of surplus urban land. (Case studies: Rotterdam, Netherlands; New Orleans, Louisiana)

Workshop 5

Planning and Social Innovations for Post-Industrial Cities

The goal of this Workshop was to discuss and develop physical and social innovation strategies for the future of post-industrial cities in the face of declining populations, increases in vacant and abandoned land and buildings, and challenged economies. Restructuring land use, tackling public education, dealing with distressed municipal finances, transforming an economy, and serving disadvantaged communities are common problems for post-industrial cities in North America and Europe. (Case studies: Turin, Italy; Detroit, Michigan)