During the last online session of IURC North America in 2023, cities participating in the second phase of IURC North America talked about how the knowledge exchanged with peers through online sessions, study visits, and networking events has influenced their work and plans for the future.
Alyssa Muto from San Diego discussed how participating in IURC has influenced her work as Director of Mobility and Sustainability and the different initiatives planned in her city. Elizabeth Lawrence from St. John’s presented how the city is looking to replicate a social innovation hub they learned about in Braga and how Braga learned about innovative urban farming models from St. John’s. Alessandra Pesaresi and Giulia Sozzi from Rimini and Bergamo presented how participating in IURC has given them a better understanding of their cities and how it has influenced their roadmap for future sustainable development. This session allowed cities to celebrate achievements and meet new colleagues from EU, US, and Canadian cities.
- International Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing:
- St. John’s, Newfoundland, partnered with Braga, Portugal, facilitated by the IURC program. The exchange involved study visits and participating in technical calls, providing valuable insights into diverse approaches to shared challenges, enhancing the global perspective on urban issues.
- Guilia Sozzi from Bergamo highlighted the collaboration between Aurora, USA, and Bergamo and Rimini, Italy, forming a trio. The cooperation focused on cultural similarities and difference. One of the main areas of cooperation was on multicultural events, showcasing the benefits of diversity and cross-cultural connections.
- Maximizing IURC Participation:
- Elizabeth Lawrence of St. John’s emphasized reaching beyond city government to connect with stakeholders, like the O’Brien farm, to broaden impact and community outreach.
- The IURC program serves as a platform to connect with cities that share similarities but also offers new perspectives, fostering valuable insights.
- Political Impact and Cultural Differences:
- Alessandra Pesaresi of Rimini highlighted the global challenges shared by communities worldwide. The IURC program enables the transfer of plans and approaches, bridging cultural differences and distances, fostering collaboration, and leading to shared perspectives for moving forward together.
- Guilia Sozzi noted the involvement of Bergamo’s deputy mayor throughout the IURC collaboration, emphasizing the direct sharing of new perspectives with city governance. While no immediate political changes occurred, the program provided a platform for continuous growth and collaboration.
- Urban Sustainable Development and Collaboration Lessons:
- Alessandra Pesaresi emphasized the IURC events’ focus on urban challenges, collaboration opportunities, and the creation of a roadmap for urban sustainable development. Lessons learned include the importance of sharing perspectives and processes to achieve common goals through strategic planning.
- San Diego’s Focus on Sustainable Mobility:
- Alyssa Muto from San Diego participated in two phases of the IURC, emphasizing sustainable mobility. Collaborating with Madrid, San Diego also explored other thematic areas, including nature-based solutions and economic development.
- San Diego adopted specific practices from Madrid, incorporating valuable insights into policies and projects.
- Witnessing similar challenges in other cities reinforced San Diego’s confidence in navigating complex situations, shaping a clear vision for the future.