Big City: Big Ideas (BCBI) is an ongoing public lecture series that features global leaders in urban and regional planning, policy, and finance. BCBI is made up of the following partnering organizations:
- Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG)
- School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG)
- Department of Geography & Planning, UofT
- Innovation Policy Lab (IPL)
- Global Cities Institute (GCI)
- Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI)
- Urban Strategies Inc.
Each year, the BCBI partners organize a number of public events, attracting some of the brightest minds working on the development, sustainability, and liveability of cities today. Highlighted below are just a few of the many events organized by the BCBI partners.
Funding Democracy: Participatory Budgeting in Canada
Joined by an expert group of panelists, the event discussed the opportunities and challenges of implementing participatory budgeting in Canadian cities. Panelists included Josh Lerner (keynote speaker), Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, Shelley Carroll, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 33 Don Valley East, Alex Mazer, Co-founder of Better Budget TO, and Peter MacLeod (moderator), Co-founder and principal of MASS LBP.
Data Innovation and City Governance
Rapid developments in digital innovation and in the availability and application of large-scale data sets hold out possibilities for new ways that governments can engage with citizens, while at the same time raising concerns about data privacy. In his talk, Mark Kleinman (former Visiting Scholar at IMFG and Director of Economic & Business Policy for the Mayor of London) looked at how these issues are being addressed in both London (UK) and Toronto.
Cities, Museums, and Soft Power
Museums are the sleeping giants of cities – fast becoming a major urban force, helping cities to attract people and investment, and address challenges such as inequality, social exclusion, and sustainability. This is the “big idea” from internationally renowned cultural planners Gail Lord (Co-president of Lord Cultural Resources) and Ngaire Blankenberg (Principal Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources), in their new book Cities, Museums and Soft Power. At this event, Lord and Blankenberg addressed how cities can work together to activate their soft power – influence through attraction, persuasion, and agenda-setting.
Métropole du Grand Paris: Planning and Integrating the Paris Metropolitan Region
Catherine Barbé (Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Société du Grand Paris) reflected on her experience and strategies with the implementation of the Grand Paris project, and insights and lessons on further integrating the Paris metropolitan region.
Universities, Cities, and Prosperity: An Agenda for the Future
A strong university helps build a strong city, and vice versa. Universities impart innovative dynamism and resilience to the economies of urban regions. They are stabilizing forces on urban economies, and on the local neighbourhoods they inhabit. And they connect their host regions to the world. UofT President Meric Gertler talked about the University and the city, and the critical role UofT will play in the economic, social, and cultural future of the Greater Toronto Area.