Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Mr. Robertson goes to New York, attends two-day CityLab summit

Vancouver's Gregor Robertson was the only Canadian mayor invited to the event, hosted in part by NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Global city leaders to discuss the urban ideas that are shaping global cities.”

That was the pitch, and Vancouver’s mayor Gregor Robertson was the lone Canadian invited to the inaugural New York City-hosted CityLab Summit, which took place Oct. 6-8 in Manhattan under the three-way partnership of The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Representing Vancouver at CityLab is a great opportunity to both learn from other cities and share the lessons about Vancouver’s successes,” Robertson said on MayorofVancouver.ca. “From economic development to affordable housing to rapid transit, CityLab will provide a unique forum for discussing the biggest challenges we face in Vancouver and cities around the world.”

Robertson made up a group of 300 so-called “global city leaders” who discussed urban ideas in the world’s metro centres, with the event centered around a “series of conversations”.

According to CityLab’s website, “The summit (featured) conversations on economic development; the environment and sustainability; cultural investment; big data; and the intersection of public safety, privacy, and technology; as well as smaller breakout sessions exploring topics like redevelopment, urban infrastructure, transportation, urban expansion, and the creation of the next tech city.”

Blog/news site VanCity Buzz chalked Robertson’s exclusive invitation up to his recent issuing of 100 laneway permits in the city, a residential initiative that’s often (now) discussed as a “housing solution”.

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“20 Surprisingly Beautiful Tiny Homes” – Melissa Stanger, Business Insider (Jan. 9, 2013)

“8 Amazingly Tiny Micro-Apartments” – Marcelle Sussman Fischler, Forbes (March 17, 2013)

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“In addition to the innovative laneway housing initiative, under Robertson and previous Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, Vancouver has definitely stepped up its game in eco-density,” wrote VanCity Buzz’s Elise Belzil. “During Mayor Sullivan’s tenure, the now infamous Olympic Village was developed. And although the development lost some steam along the way, it is now a thriving, dense community with awesome local businesses like the Tap and Barrel.”

Also invited were New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as that city’s mayoral candidates, Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota, former Vice President Al Gore, and 25-plus mayors from around the United States and internationally.

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