Over the last few years the global economy has been shaken by an unprecedented crisis, a crisis that the traditional macroeconomic measures of expansionary monetary policies and demand stimulus through public expenditure have not been able to solve.
Furthermore, we stand at the gates of a technological revolution. New trends such as Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, and the digitalization of social interactions, far from offering a space in which to recover after the economic crisis, present a new reality of accelerated change and increasing globalization that comes with new challenges that cannot be met by applying pre-fabricated solutions.
With exhausted macroeconomic models that do not offer room for manoeuvre to governments and central banks, it is only through micro perspectives that the major economic and social challenges can be tackled. Cities, thanks of their proximity to businesses and citizens, and to their role as hubs of talent and creativity, position themselves as key agents to address these evolving challenges.
The popularization of tourism and the growing globalization have meant that cities are acquiring an increasingly relevant role in the international sphere, and we are experiencing the birth of true global cities. In this context, nations are giving way to cities as the main competitors for attracting investment and talent, and are becoming the epicentre of economic activity and the launch pads for digital transformation.
The relationship between the economy and the city is today closer than ever, and it is more relevant than ever to create spaces for debate where public administrations and businesses define new relationship models that can foster economic prosperity and well-being of citizens.
Bilbao is a city renowned for a transformation that radically redefined its appearance and its economy, and that turned it into a global city. At a moment when cities must yet again transform themselves, Bilbao, endorsed by its success story, presents itself as a unique forum in which to discuss new urban and economic promotion models that may respond to the needs of administrations, businesses and citizens in a more innovative, global and competitive way.
Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao