CityLab Detroit Convenes Global Mayors, City Innovators, and Urban Leaders October 28-30

September 20, 2018

Featured interviews to include: Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch, Black Panther and Moonlight production designer Hannah Beachler, authors James and Deborah Fallows, and New York Times Columnist David Brooks

October 28-30 in Detroit – Media Registration Now Open

Washington, D.C. and New York, NY, September 20, 2018 – CityLab, the preeminent global cities summit organized by the Aspen InstituteThe Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to address the most urgent urban issues of our time, today announced the first roster of speakers for its sixth-annual summit, happening next month in Detroit. Dozens of mayors from the U.S. and cities around the world will attend CityLab, along with the leading city innovators, business leaders, urban experts, artists, and activists. 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.

Following last year’s event in Paris, CityLab Detroit will take place at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel from October 28-30, with additional site visits and events to be held throughout Detroit. This is the first time the event will take place in a heartland city and will draw inspiration from the people and issues unique to the region. Press registration is now open. To request a credential or for more information on coverage opportunities, please reach out to The Atlantic’s Anna Bross (

CityLab will feature conversations, interviews, and debates with many mayors and dozens of featured speakers, including:

  • Mary Barra, General Motors chairman and CEO;
  • Hannah Beachler, production designer of films like Black Panther and Moonlight, for a conversation about telling the story of a city in film;
  • Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao on reimagining affordable housing;
  • Michael R. Bloomberg, three-term mayor of New York City, entrepreneur and philanthropist;
  • Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, GA;
  • David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times and executive director of the Aspen Institute;
  • Ana Mari Cauce of the University of Washington, Mark Schlissel of the University of Michigan, and Mary Schmidt Campbell of Spelman College;
  • Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, Veniam, & PeersInc;
  • Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit, MI;
  • Dan Doctoroff, founder and CEO, Sidewalk Labs;
  • James and Deborah Fallows, writers at The Atlantic and authors of Our Towns;
  • Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures;
  • Christopher Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, and Stephen M. Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins;
  • President Kersti Kaljulaid of the Republic of Estonia, which is the most digital government in the world;
  • Scott Kubly, chief programs officer, LimeBike;
  • Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation;
  • Michael Tubbs, the mayor of Stockton, CA;
  • and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

Some of the leading mayors who will attend CityLab Detroit are from the following cities: Akron; Albuquerque; Anchorage; Athens, Greece; Atlanta; Baltimore; Braga, Portugal; Camden; Charlotte; Durham; Henderson, NV; Lansing; Long Beach; Miami; Oklahoma City; Palermo, Italy; Quillota, Chile; Saltillo, Mexico; San Jose; Santiago, Chile; Seattle; Sintra, Portugal; Stockton; St. Louis; St. Paul; and Utrecht, Netherlands; and Tacoma. The OECD and some of the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth will also contribute to CityLab. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks, along with a full agenda.

Individual sessions will explore topics that include how technology and design can enables or inhibits personal freedom; whether universal basic income could work how cities are tackling the opioid crisis; and how both mayors to informal leaders can work to build stronger city communities. The event’s programming will draw inspiration from the ongoing story of Detroit—and be infused with the entrepreneurial character of the city.

The first CityLab summit was held in New York City in 2013, and subsequent events have been hosted in Los Angeles (2014), London (2015), Miami (2016), and Paris (2017). Over the last five years, CityLab has involved participants from over 400 cities, including hundreds of mayors.


About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. 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, DC; 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 The Atlantic

Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, video, and audio platforms. With its award-winning digital presence and on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, global, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. Bob Cohn is president of The Atlantic and Jeffrey Goldberg is editor in chief. Emerson Collective is majority owner; Atlantic Media is the minority operating owner of The Atlantic.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 480 cities in more than 120 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: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Media Relations Contacts:

Anna Bross
The Atlantic

Courtney Greenwald
Bloomberg Philanthropies

Jon Purves
The Aspen Institute

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