The Venice Forum on the Future of Cities/Cities of the Future



The UNDP innovation work shows that the most interesting and novel insights and experiences in policy work come at the intersection of industries, sectors and perspectives. Similarly, with the emerging work on cities, a set of experiments becomes evident that sit at the cross section of new approaches and technologies. These could either end up reinforcing existing inequalities and growth patterns or be leveraged for more inclusive and participatory development. Cities are on the forefront of how this question pans out. UNDP’s NextGenGov agenda also recognizes cities as one of the spaces for experimentation, given their emergent leadership in international governance, like climate change, and new civic accords. It is at the city level where a diverse and dynamic set of actors can be found, connecting, engaging and networking, and cutting across silos to improve life in cities, across three domains: public space, resident life and public administration. Innovation is also identified in governance of finance hitting the ground running in cities — from reforming the municipal bond markets and democratizing access to finance to mapping economy in real time. This is the reason UNDP has organised the Venice Forum on the Future of Cities/Cities of the Future; for municipal partners, external experts, and UNDP colleagues working at the intersection of innovation and cities and committed to making cities more livable.


Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable






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Ministry of Finance

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“We believe that now ... it's time for the Arab nations to rise again through science and innovation."

Tamer Taha, Founder of Yomken

Human-centered design is a philosophy, not a precise set of methods, but one that assumes that innovation should start by getting close to users and observing their activities.

Donald A. Norman, Co, Founder of Nielsen Norman Group

The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for. Leadership is exactly the same thing – building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help.

David Kelley, Founder of IDEO

We spend a lot time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.

Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute

It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them'.

Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

The agenda specifically recognizes youth as “critical agents of change”. To ensure the success of the 2030 Agenda, we need all young people on board - all of you, young activists, innovators, disruptors and trailblazers.

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

Failure is an option here. if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

If the government regulates against use of drones or stem cells or artificial intelligence, all that means is that the work and the research leave the borders of that country and go someplace else.

Peter Diamandis, Executive Chairman of the X Prize Foundation

The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.

Linus Pauling, American Chemist

We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we make progress.

Richard Feynman, Noble Prize Winning Physicist