International Roundtable for Future Cities

Saturday, April 14, 2012
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Gold Ballroom #1, JW Marriot Hotel
900 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles

CM | 8.0

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Young people are at the heart of today's most important strategic challenges. ... It's time to put youth on the international agenda."

The young generations from U.S. and China will have the strongest impact on the future patterns of global urbanization, but their voices have been ignored. So we have created this non-academic grassroots platform to encourage the neglected voices to speak up and encourage American and Chinese young future leaders to make impacts on future cities.

The audience directed the flow of the event on April 14, with a focus on Q&A and seminars rather than one-man speech. Speakers served as a "guide on the side" instead of "sage on the stage."

After inspiring opening remarks by APA's President Mitchell Silver, AICP, and Deputy Director of UN-Habitat, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the crowd had some fun and interactive time withe the six keynote speakers.

Thanks to your participation, the forum was a success and we are glad that it was able to meet our objectives to share experiences and innovative thoughts in encouraging young generation's engagement in urban issues. "Participate and make change" requires creativity and courage. We hope that all participants will also be able to spread this spirit and passion to your peers.

Review of Keynote Speeches

Click on a title below to view the presentation.

photo collage

"Growing With Chinese NGO" — Bo Li
Director of the Friends of Nature, the oldest environmental NGO in China. He and FON have been working for over a decade to promote public awareness about China's most pressing environmental problems. FON's greatest achievement is helping to foster a growing network of grassroot environmental NGOs throughout China. He believes that education increases awareness, and awareness increases citizen participation.

"Urban Food Educator" — Scott Bernhard
Bernhard is director of the Tulane City Center and co-founder of the Grow Dat Youth Farm program, which aims to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. The farm work collaboratively to produce healthy food for residents and to inspire youth to make changes in community, their environment, and themselves.

"Beijing Sky Watcher" — Weiwei Lu
Ms. Lu and her friend Mr. Tao Fan were recognized as "green heroes" by the Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology and The Nature Conservancy for their "365 Days of Blue Sky Diary" that challenged official environmental statistics in 2009. A rookie photographer, a foolproof camera, a heart that embraces a blue sky, Weiwei tells you how a committed citizen could change her city.

"Creating Miracle Above Manhattan" — Melissa Fisher
COO of "Friends of the High Line," which was founded in 1999 by two neighborhood residents, Joshua David and Robert Hammond. The nonprofit advocated for the High Line's preservation when the structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line successfully worked with the mayoral administration of Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council to reverse a City policy favoring demolition to one ensuring the High Line's preservation through the federal Railbanking program.

"Platform for Exchange" — Eddie Tsui
Design principal managing AECOM's planning projects in southern China. His focus lies in the sensitive fusion of contemporary urban design concepts with local context, specifically sustainable environments and socio-economic issues in creating new identities which embrace local culture and heritage.

"Designers of The World, Unite!" — Darren Gill
Program Coordinator at Architecture for Humanity. By tapping a network of more than 50,000 architects and designers willing to lend time and expertise to those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, this nonprofit design firm aims to bring design, construction, and development services where they are most critically needed. Clients include community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, government agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations.


China Daily USA, which is the national English-language newspaper of China with a circulation of 180,000, co-sponsored the event. Other major local, national, and international media covered the forum as well.

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