In December 2010, the German Marshall Fund’s Urban and Regional Policy program kicked off its three-year “Cities in Transition” program with a study tour focused on shrinking cities and land use in Leipzig, Germany and Manchester, England. Five US cities were chosen as the focus of this three year program – Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh – with representatives from the municipalities, non-governmental institutions, philanthropic entities and federal stakeholders all taking part in the tour. Participants heard a wide variety of community development experts and saw first-hand the (re)use of land and the built environment in these transforming cities, while sharing about their own US cities and discussing other locations around Europe and the United States. Cooperation continues between the US cities, their German counterparts and public and private partners to find and transfer the best ideas to the local context. The German Marshall Fund is planning US-based policy workshops based on key study tour takeaways, and will convene past and future study tour participants as preparations begin for year two of the program, focusing on economic development.
As a direct result of HUD participation in the study tour and in an effort to continue the exchange, broaden the learning network and encourage the “seeding of good ideas” HUD’s Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI), in cooperation with the German Marshall Fund, will be holding a policy exchange panel on May 9, 2011, 2-4 PM, with a diverse group representing philanthropic, municipal, federal and nongovernmental organization viewpoints and reflections. We invite our partners and interested parties in all sectors to join us for this exciting panel discussion to learn more about this growing effort and the models, ideas and best practices already under way.