“Live the City”, the METROPOLIS Annual Meeting held in Buenos Aires, ended on 21 May and marked a milestone in our Association’s history. At the conclusion of its 30th anniversary celebrations, METROPOLIS was able to join the expressive presence of its leading political representatives with an unprecedented joining of discussions and specific experiences in urban management.
The event drew 623 accredited participants from 151 organizations in 63 cities (from 37 countries) across the world. It involved the participation of 31 delegations with political and technical representatives of METROPOLIS members, including top-level political representatives (mayors, governors and other city leaders) from 10 metropolises: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Île-de-France, Johannesburg, Karaj, Montevideo, Montreal, Porto Alegre, Santiago de Chile Metropolitan Region and Rosario. Other senior political representatives (deputy mayors, secretaries, ministers, councilors and their counterparts) from 16 cities were also actively engaged.
It was the first Annual Meeting where on-the-ground urban experiences were the starting point of the discussions on the three cross-cutting themes on which the event was based: inclusion, innovation, and sustainability. Presented at the opening ceremony by Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires City Head of Government, and Jean-Paul Huchon, Île-de-France Region and METROPOLIS President, the themes were considered in depth in the thematic sessions and experienced live in specific on-the-ground experiences. The Zona Sur experience provided a first-hand view of the revitalization of an historically marginalized area which was carried out with significant public participation, while the participants’ experience at the city center meant they could witness in person the major changes made to promote mobility and sustainability in the city’s downtown area.
On the first day of the event, traditionally dedicated to METROPOLIS internal meetings, there was also innovation in the form of workshops open to all event participants that focused on METROPOLIS Youth and on gender mainstreaming in public policies. The “Connecting the Dots” workshop brought together, for the first time in METROPOLIS’s history, its leading collaborators in a technical and dynamic workshop focused on action with the goal of exploring synergy opportunities through different points of the Association’s current operating structure.
The “Voice of the Mayors” session on 20 May invited the leading political representatives of METROPOLIS member cities to give a live explanation of their own experiences heading up their cities, the evolution they have gone through to today and their vision for the urban future. Finally, outgoing Secretary-General Alain Le Saux was farewelled at the Board of Directors meeting and the new Secretary-General Felip Roca was welcomed. Welcome too were the two new METROPOLIS members of San Salvador and Ramallah. The events to celebrate our 30th anniversary were closed by President Jean-Paul Huchon at the Gala Dinner in a night enlivened by a wonderful display of Argentinean tango.