World Economic Forum (WEF) is establishing the new Global Centre for Urban Transformation in an effort to increase public-private collaboration in cities and advance more inclusive and sustainable models for urban development. And the organization plans to put the headquarters of this global initiative in Detroit.
“Our view is that there is some great work that is happening, will be happening in Detroit. We want to help tell that story and how Detroit can be a model — an inspiration, really — for other cities around the world.” —Jeff Merritt, World Economic Forum
The WEF is partnering with Dan Gilbert’s real estate firm Bedrock to establish the new headquarters.
Listen: Jeff Merritt of the World Economic Forum talks about why his organization chose Detroit for its new Global Centre for Urban Transformation.
Jeff Merritt is head of urban transformation for World Economic Forum. He acknowledges that these kinds of efforts, and even the word “transformation” itself, are sometimes met with skepticism in places like Detroit.
“When we say ‘urban transformation,’ it’s really just an acknowledgement that cities always have to change,” he says. “And there’s lots more changes that are coming down the road.”
“This is about bringing some added support for cities,” Merritt says. “We’re living in unprecedented times. Cities are bearing the brunt of this.”
He says Detroit was a logical choice for a center like this, and Detroit can both benefit from knowledge of what’s working in other cities around the world while also serving as an example itself.
“Our view is that there is some great work that is happening, will be happening in Detroit. We want to help tell that story and how Detroit can be a model — an inspiration, really — for other cities around the world.”