Urbanization and development: Understanding the why behind the big delve

The opening ceremony of the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference addressed this very question: the why behind a conference on urbanization and development. Chaired by  Alan Winters, Chairman of the GDN Board of Directors and professor at the University of Sussex, UK, the session discussed the urbanization phenomenon and its intimate relationship with development. The role of GDN was also brought up, and how it as an international organization plays a seminal role in linking the developing with the developed, a marriage between North and South.

H.E. Dr. János Hóvári, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary for Global Affairs, John Shattuck, Rector and President of Central European University, and Gerardo della Paolera, President of the Global Development Network, also provided some valuable insights on the phenomenon from their own perspective, and why urbanization now warrants more attention than ever.

H.E. Dr. János Hóvári began by discussing the sheer growth of cities, evident all over the world today, and stressed the importance of replicating successful city models, for more people to benefit. Hóvári also made the interesting observation that cities are both the problem and the solution, and that our “global future lies in urban innovation and policy actions.”

John Shattuck drew parallels between CEU, Budapest, and urbanization as an engine of growth. He further argued that the ultimate flowering of urbanization and development can be seen right here in the Hungarian capital. The role of GDN as an important research network was also emphasized. One that advocates for network science and, in doing so, demonstrates how the world is, and can be, transformed by civil society networks.

Finally, the opening ceremony was concluded by the GDN President Gerardo della Paolera, shedding light on the role of both CEU and GDN in making this conference a possibility. He ended with the statement that the 21st Century will not be dominated by any one superpower, or a BRICS nation, but rather by the city. And we completely agree.


About Maya Madkour
I am a Sociologist, eternal optimist, and spreader of joy. I was born in London, raised in Cairo, and call Dallas my home away from home; where I have been travelling for the past fourteen years. This blog is a place where we can share insights, learn, grow and master the art of life together.

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