The Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Announce “CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges” in Los Angeles This Fall

April 7, 2014

The Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Announce “CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges”
in Los Angeles This Fall

Innovation Summit Gathers Global Mayors and Urban Leaders to Discuss Bold, Replicable Ideas Shaping Cities,
September 28-30, 2014

Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. (April 7, 2014)— The Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies will convene global mayors and leading urban thinkers for the second annual “CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges,” to be held this year in Los Angeles, CA, from September 28-30. The multiday summit will engage leaders in a series of conversations about the bold, scalable ideas and solutions that are transforming metro centers around the world into more livable and sustainable cities.

CityLab 2014 will offer more than 400 attendees – including leading mayors from around the world, along with city planners, urban scholars, architects, artists, and journalists – a forum to share best practices and new ideas for tackling urban issues. The event will span multiple Los Angeles venues, and incorporate field trips to local urban revitalization projects, cultural centers, and universities that will serve as urban case studies.

“Los Angeles is a global hub for innovation and offers the perfect urban laboratory for leaders to convene, collaborate and shape the future of their cities.  I am looking forward to continuing the conversation started at the inaugural CityLab to explore new ways cities can provide better services to residents and boost our economy,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti added.

CityLab will strive to create a two-and-a-half day global town square in the heart of Los Angeles. Sessions will be led by a mix of Atlantic journalists and urban practioners, and feature interviews, panel discussions, debates, performances, and breakout tutorials. Expected areas of focus will include growth and equity, public health, resilience and sustainability, civic technology, city vibrancy, and innovation and effectiveness in governance, among others.

“On all the big challenges we face – from improving public health to expanding economic opportunity to confronting climate change – cities are leading the way and showing that major progress is possible,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and former Mayor of New York City. “The upcoming CityLab in Los Angeles will give the most innovative ideas the close-up they deserve and help them spread to more cities around the world.”

“I’m thrilled to once again join with The Atlantic and Bloomberg Philanthropies in an exploration of what’s working in our urban environments. Cities are hubs of innovation, typically by necessity, and their solutions are often ones that can be incubated and used to transform society as a whole,” said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

“The comeback of American cities is the greatest geographic story on the continent today.  The Atlantic loves this topic – and all its work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute,” added David Bradley, chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, The Atlantic’s parent company.

In addition to featuring Michael R. Bloomberg, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Walter Isaacson, and top urban leaders and practitioners, CityLab will highlight some of The Atlantic’s leading editorial voices, including James Bennet, co-president and editor in chief of The Atlantic; Ronald Brownstein, Atlantic Media’s editorial director for strategic partnerships; and Richard Florida, urban studies expert and Atlantic senior editor.

CityLab 2014 builds on last year’s groundbreaking inaugural program, which drew 30 global mayors among its 400 guests. Attendees came from 23 countries, 30 U.S. states, and 95 cities worldwide. Featured international speakers at that event included former Vice President Al Gore; Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis; Nashville Mayor Karl Dean; artist Theaster Gates; Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Commissioner, Office of Information and Privacy from Ontario, Canada; Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor; and Fran Tonkiss, Academic Director of the Cities Programme at London School of Economics, among other top urban leaders.

Additional details, including location, speakers, and logistical information for media outlets wishing to attend, will be announced in the weeks and months ahead.

The CityLab summit is an expansion of The Atlantic’s longstanding partnership with the Aspen Institute devoted to the exchange of ideas of consequence, which established the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2005, the Washington Ideas Forum in 2009, and New York Ideas in 2012.


About The Atlantic

Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about “the American Idea” that would be of “no party or clique,” The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and opinion-tracking site,, and on global cities, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of Washington, D.C.–based publisher Atlantic Media.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, please visit

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, $452 million was distributed. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Media Relations Contacts

Anna Bross, The Atlantic
(202) 226-7714

Jennifer Myers, The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-2906

Meghan Womack, Bloomberg Philanthropies
(212) 205-0176


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