The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Present “CityLab: Urban Solutions for Global Challenges”

March 20, 2013

The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Present “CityLab: Urban Solutions for Global Challenges”

Inaugural Summit to Be Held in New York City October 6-8, 2013

Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. (March 20, 2013)—The Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a new partnership and forthcoming summit, “CityLab: Urban Solutions for Global Challenges,” to be held in New York City October 6-8, 2013. The premier event will bring together global city leaders—mayors and government officials, urban theorists, scholars, artists, and other key voices—to engage in a series of conversations about urban ideas and innovations that are shaping metro centers around the world. 

Against the backdrop of New York City, the program will showcase the power of effective leadership and partnership to transform cities, making them more livable, sustainable, and healthy. The two-and-a-half day summit will feature a mix of one-on-one interviews, panel discussions, and breakout tutorial sessions designed to examine and help spread successful practices from world cities in areas including technology, intellectual capital, infrastructure, job creating and the environment.

“I believe in the power of cities to fuel innovative solutions to many of our greatest global challenges. That’s been my experience as mayor—and it’s a belief that will drive my philanthropy moving forward,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “The CityLab Summit will bring together city leaders and their partners from across the globe to discuss what it takes to create a vibrant, innovative, and sustainable city.”

“I am thrilled for us to join Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Atlantic in this exciting and important project. Cities are where some of the most dynamic ideas about the future are being hatched, fleshed out, and put to work on the ground, in economic development, the environment, public safety, technology, smart transportation, and so many more critical areas. I can’t think of a better way to showcase and explore the ideas and innovations that are shaping how we—city-dwellers and everyone else—will tackle the biggest challenges we all face together,” said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

“Great cities (plus Aspen, Colorado, population 6,667) are the nation-states of our time.  Where better to celebrate them than New York City? Who better to host than Michael Bloomberg and Walter Isaacson?” added David Bradley, chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, The Atlantic‘s parent company.

In addition to featuring Mayor Bloomberg and other top urban leaders and practitioners, CityLab will highlight some of The Atlantic‘s leading editorial voices, including James Bennet, editor in chief; James Fallows, national correspondent; Richard Florida, urban studies expert and Atlantic senior editor; and Alexis Madrigal, senior editor. 

Working in tandem with The Atlantic staff will be the Aspen Institute’s Isaacson, Elliot Gerson, executive vice president; and Jamie Miller, vice president of public programs.

For more information, visit or email

Additional details, including location, speakers, and logistics information for media outlets, 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 now 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 Company.

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, visit

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $360 million was distributed. For more information, please visit

Media Relations Contacts:

Natalie Raabe, The Atlantic
(202) 266-7533

Jeff Harris, The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-3848

Meghan Womack, Bloomberg Philanthropies
(212) 205-0176



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