Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute Announce CityLab Global Cities Summit to be Held Virtually March 1-3, 2021

February 2, 2021

City Hosts Include Mayors London Breed of San Francisco, Claudia Lopez of Bogota, Yvonne Aki- Sawyerr of Freetown, and Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki

Contacts: Courtney Greenwald
Bloomberg Philanthropies

Jon Purves
The Aspen Institute

New York, NY, February 2, 2021 – Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute today announced that CityLab 2021 will be held virtually March 1-3. CityLab is the leading global summit dedicated to exploring the most urgent issues faced by cities around the world and bringing together mayors, local leaders, and world-renowned experts to share innovative and scalable solutions to move communities forward. This year’s summit returns with a series of urgent conversations about how cities have been transformed by the global pandemic and calls for social justice, and the most promising trends and new solutions to emerge during the past year.

“Around the world, the response to COVID-19 has highlighted how important local leadership is to tackling urgent problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The pandemic has affected everything from the economy and education to mental health and social services, and CityLab is a chance for local leaders to share lessons and ideas, which have the potential to make an enormous difference in 2021.”

As cities face the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, they must begin to rebuild and restore local economies, address social injustice and inequity, advance climate goals, and deliver vital services to residents in new and better ways. With carefully curated content, CityLab 2021 will provide ambitious city leaders with the latest expert thinking, first-hand lessons from their peers, and tested innovative solutions to tackle these challenges head-on. While CityLab events typically consist of three jam-packed days of in-person scheduling, this year’s virtual event will take place at interludes over a three-day period, with specific moments designed for various city innovation audiences. Two afternoons of must-see city debate and plenary will take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 1 and 2 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM ET. Additional details may be found here.

“While CityLab may look a little different in 2021, we know that the same dynamism and innovation that are driving solutions in cities around the world will come to life as city leaders have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences,” said Daniel Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “This is a critical time for mayors and the brightest minds in city planning to come together and collaborate on scalable paths forward, and we are proud to be a partner in this summit and support cities in their recovery.” 

CityLab 2021 will also be co-hosted by four cities from four continents – each with a compelling story to tell about the way they met the moment in 2020 and continue to drive innovative solutions into the next year. These host cities and their mayors are: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, U.S.A; Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez of Bogota, Colombia; Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki, Finland. These city leaders and the solutions they’ve generated will be featured throughout the program to inspire and provoke discussion.

CityLab was founded on the principle that the most important innovation is happening at the local level and that global impact can be achieved when cities share solutions. In December 2019, Bloomberg Media acquired CityLab, an award-winning news site for solutions-based journalism on urban innovation and the future of cities, and the CityLab summit from The Atlantic.

Past CityLabs have been hosted in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Paris, Detroit, and Washington D.C. For more information and to access the event LiveStream here.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTubeTwitter, and TikTok.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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