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How to build an environmental city

A delegation from City, University of London attended the WC2 Symposium in São Paulo

by Sophie Cubbin (Head of Communications and Events)

The 3rd World Cities World Class University (WC2) Symposium, hosted by the University of São Paulo, has been held in Brazil.

The Symposium is the annual meeting of the WC2 network, which was founded by City, University of London in 2010. Ten universities, located in the heart of major world cities make up the network which collectively explores cultural, environmental and political issues of common interest.

An Environmental City

This year, representatives from WC2 member universities gathered to consider urban regeneration and how to build an environmental city, using São Paulo as a case study.

Like many other cities in the developing world São Paulo has been undergoing unprecedented growth for over 100 years. Classified as an alpha city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2016, the city’s population has now surpassed 16 million spread over 1.6 square kilometres.

The biggest city in South America, it has high rates of pollution and crime as well as significant social-economic disparities. It is also a thriving cultural, financial and technological centre which is enriched by a wide variety of communities from different parts of the country, as well as Italy, Japan, Korea and Greece.

Eight City staff and students including Professor Stanton Newman, Vice President (International) and colleagues from Cass Business School, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Arts and Social Sciences attended the event.

Attendees at the Symposium split into groups of faculty and students to explore the five key areas of transport, eco campus, global culture, health and business before reporting back on their findings and follow up plans.

WC2 Scholars

Ilse van Wilpe- van Berkom, is a WC2 scholar. She is studying for an MSc Health Management at City, University of London.  Her dissertation project is a systematic scoping review on Ageing and Quality of Life in Urban Areas which is directly related to the WC2 network's theme of Global Health.

The symposium week in Sao Paulo was an opportunity for me to present, discuss and reflect on my thesis. The diversity of geographical origin, educational and professional background within this global network made the exchange of knowledge, experience and insight highly valuable for my research and my academic and personal development. It was an enormous opportunity to connect with inspiring scholars and experts from all over the world.

While in São Paulo the City delegation also hosted a networking event for City alumni based in the city.

Professor Stanton Newman, who is also Chair of the WC2 Strategy Group, commented:

In addition to bringing together 130 participants to collaborate on different aspects of building the environmental city, representatives from the member institutions discussed the future development of the network including the introduction of new themes, improved communications and plans for the 2018 Symposium.

WC2 network representatives also agreed the introduction of food policy and migration as new thematic areas. The network is now planning for the 2018 Symposium, to be hosted by Ryerson University in Toronto, which will focus on migration, the city and the university.

The WC2 Network

The World Cities World Class University (WC2) network brings together top universities located in major world cities in order to respond to the challenges and opportunities facing urban areas. By providing a forum for scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines and from across the globe, the network creates opportunities for inter-disciplinary and cross border cooperation. The network’s areas of focus are research, knowledge exchange, staff and student mobility and supporting urban policy makers in leveraging the expertise held within Universities.

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