Bloomberg Philanthropies and Aspen Institute announce virtual CityLab global cities summit

City Hosts Include Mayors London Breed of San Francisco, Claudia Lopez Hernández of Bogota, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, and Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki. Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute announced that CityLab 2021 will be held virtually March 1-3.

CityLab is the leading global summit dedicated to exploring the most urgent issues faced by cities around the world and bringing together mayors, local leaders, and world-renowned experts to share innovative and scalable solutions to move communities forward. This year’s summit returns with a series of urgent conversations about how cities have been transformed by the global pandemic and calls for social justice, and the most promising trends and new solutions to emerge during the past year.

“Around the world, the response to COVID-19 has highlighted how important local leadership is to tackling urgent problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The pandemic has affected everything from the economy and education to mental health and social services, and CityLab is a chance for local leaders to share lessons and ideas, which have the potential to make an enormous difference in 2021.”

As cities face the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, they must begin to rebuild and restore local economies, address social injustice and inequity, advance climate goals, and deliver vital services to residents in new and better ways. With carefully curated content, CityLab 2021 will provide ambitious city leaders with the latest expert thinking, first-hand lessons from their peers, and tested innovative solutions to tackle these challenges head-on. While CityLab typically events consist of three jam-packed days of in-person scheduling, this year’s virtual event will take place at interludes over a three day period, with specific moments designed for various city innovation audiences. Two afternoons of must-see city debate and plenary will take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 1 and 2 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM ET.

“While CityLab may look a little different in 2021, we know that the same dynamism and innovation that are driving solutions in cities around the world will come to life as city leaders have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences,” said Daniel Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “This is a critical time for mayors and the brightest minds in city planning to come together and collaborate on scalable paths forward, and we are proud to be a partner in this summit and support cities in their recovery.” 

CityLab 2021 will also be co-hosted by four cities from four continents – each with a compelling story to tell about the way they met the moment in 2020 and continue to drive innovative solutions into the next year. These host cities and their mayors are: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, U.S.A; Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez of Bogota, Colombia; Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer of Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki, Finland. These city leaders and the solutions they’ve generated will be featured throughout the program to inspire and provoke discussion.

Bloomberg City Lab

CityLab was founded on the principle that the most important innovation is happening at the local level and that global impact can be achieved when cities share solutions. In December 2019, Bloomberg Media acquired CityLab, an award-winning news site for solutions-based journalism on urban innovation and the future of cities, and the CityLab summit from The Atlantic.

Past CityLabs have been hosted in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Paris, Detroit, and Washington D.C.

For more information and to access the event livestream:


More information

Bloomberg Philanthropies 

Aspen Institute