In the weekend of 9, 10 and 11 September, the inaugural meeting of the Global Parliament of Mayors takes place in The Hague. Mayors of cities all around the world gather here to share their knowledge and ideas on urgent issues, such as climate change, migration and sustainability.
The Global Parliament of Mayors is initiated by American sociologist Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled The World. Barber claims that mayors are often best equipped to tackle pressing issues, and can achieve more than national governments, due to their pragmatic stance.
The municipality of The Hague offers mayors a stage to put this theory into practice at the Global Parliament of Mayors meeting. Barber, the founding father of the mayor parliament, provides for part of the programme.
The Centre for BOLD Cities, a collaboration between Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam, is present and keen to observe the mayors’ insights. How do they envision the role of data in tackling these questions, and what does that mean for citizens? The Centre for BOLD Cities combines data research and urban issues and specifically focuses on the perspectives of citizens and governance in the smart city.
Researchers from all three universities contribute actively as well, by participating in special ‘resource teams’ of international experts that will assist the mayors during the different sessions.
The majority participates in the session on environment and climate change: Arnold Tukker (Industrial Economy, Universiteit Leiden), Ellen van Bueren (Urban Development Management, TU Delft), Lucas Meijs (Volunteering, Civil Society and Businesses, Erasmus University Rotterdam), Hans de Bruijn (Public Administration, TU Delft) Frank van Oort (Urban and Regional Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Paulien Herder (Engineering Systems Design in Energy & Industry, TU Delft). Sociologist Godfried Engbersen, expert on migration (Erasmus University Rotterdam), contributes to the session on migration and security.
‘Mayors are the major change agents in cities,’ says Liesbet van Zoonen, academic director of the Centre for BOLD Cities. ‘We are very interested in hearing how they use big, open and linked data in developing their city. As we know, this can be of enormous value.'