Cities are increasingly on the prowl looking for insights, practices and policies in other cities that solve problems and establish a competitive edge. This session will tap into the experience of selected players from across the globe to share their observations about how learning takes place and under what conditions new knowledge gets translated into innovations back home.
- Moderator: Tim Campbell, Author, Consultant, and Former Head of the World Bank Institute’s Urban Programs
- Benjamin de la Peña, Associate Director for Urban Development, The Rockefeller Foundation
- Andre Herzog, Senior Urban Specialist, World Bank Institute (via Telepresence from DC)
- Anki Dellnas, Director of the Centre of Knowledge at the International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD), Sweden
So this is the session entitled City Learning. And we are going to have an opportunity to be joined a little later from out Washington, DC office by a colleague of ours who is based at the World Bank in Washington, DC, Andre Herzog and he’ll join us in a little bit. This question of how cities learn is not a strictly academic problem and we ask therefore somebody who has a PHD but never really got to lost in the world of academia to guide us through this discussion. Tim Campbell served for almost twenty years at the World Bank in their urban programs area.
His last assignment I think was the World Bank Institute as the Director of Urban Programs in Washington, DC. He spent many years in Latin America, Central America, Asia working on projects for and with the bank. He’ll serve as our moderator today. He’ll have an opportunity to tell you more about the theme of this discussion but I want to take a moment to introduce in addition to André Herzog who you will meet later in Washington at the World Bank, at the far left, Benjamin de la Peña who is here from the Rockefeller Foundations Headquarters Office in New York City, who has spent as a Program Director for the urban programs at the foundation, has spent many years thinking about the problems that cities faced that are seemingly intractable but where solutions are arising or emerging from the bottom up.
These bottom up solutions are often invisible to the rest of us but increasingly a focus of attention, not only by Benjamin and not just by the grantees of the Foundation but a very large growing network that includes Cisco and IBM and other companies who are really paying attention to this bottom up solutions. Also joining us here is Anki, she is based in Stockholm. No, I’m sorry, not in Stockholm, you told me last night and I’m trying to remember, in Gothenburg in the South. West Coast, that’s how much I know my Swedish geography, I apologize.
Her organization is focused on local democracy and has been working for many years to think about, she has been working for many years to think about how people can be empowered in cities to take charge of the policies and the practices that have a direct impact on their lives, and works with the Association of Swedish Cities among others and brings us a perspective which is much broader than the European perspectives. So we are really appreciating the panel to be here and I’m looking forward to the discussion and Tim it’s all yours.
Thank you Gordon. Let me look at my clicker here and see how this works. Good Morning everybody. Lovely to have you here. I’m delighted to beÖ I’m not getting a response – no, no, I’m going backwards. I’d like to get to get to the first slide. Green button takes me forward. It won’t start. Okay, I’ll tell you what the first slide says. It says welcome and here is the panel. The key thing that we would like to talk about today is at various levels how ideas move from one place to another around the world and even inside the city.
This is a question that I’ll address directly in a global sense and at a city level. And the panelists will have different takes at this same question. What are the barriers? What are the opportunities? Where are the gaps and the pitfalls that impede the movement of good ideas? Because we are certain that cities all around the world are beginning to rise up and exchange knowledge in a way that has never happened before.
So in looking at these cities I have for the book “Beyond Smart Cities” I saw that the ones that really did well, not only that learned but were able to translate some of that learning into innovative practices revealed a system of learning. They don’t always know that they had a system but they do. And it could be very important not only for national economic development but for regional and local economic development in and around their places.
It’s important also to achieve smart cities. Because smart cities aren’t just a question of having fiber-optics, fiber connecting every business, residents and localities in a city, it’s also a matter of having a coherent management structure underneath it that guides and directs it. So this slide shows the results of a global survey that I conducted for the book that asks cities “Where do you get your ideas. How do you learn? Where do you go to get the ideas?” Because I knew from anecdotic evidence working at the World Bank and afterwards that cities were traveling a lot. They’re sending technical delegations to visit each other and get ideas. The little red dots here are the respondents to the survey and the blue dots indicate the places where those cities went to get ideas.
These are technical missions, they are looking for specific policies and practices that they can bring home and adapt or just to benchmark themselves to figure out where they are. This map just shows, it’s sort of a selective sample, 43 cities in a given year, this is where they went and if you aggregate this up to all the cities in the planet that have the same size as these cities, which is basically a bell shaped curve, smooth representation of all cities on the planet, there are between thousands to tens of thousands of visits every year between cities. It’s a giant market of exchange that we have very little knowledge about.
There is almost no national policies governing this and certainly no urban policies governing. International organizations like the World Bank I’m sure don’t have much idea about this. Some nations – and André Herzog will tell us, will give us an example of the city of India where they are beginning to get their arms around this idea and actually framing a program that will facilitate the exchange of knowledge. We found also that people that are going on these visits dedicate a lot of time to their learning. They are benchmarked against a number of indicators like corporate U.S. – they are on the bottom, 5% to 7% of the bottom line in corporate America is dedicated to learning. And these people who are traveling dedicate almost twice as much of that amount of time in their own learning.
We also saw that there are different styles of the way cities learn. Informal, technical, corporate and I’ll just take you through a couple of these cases. The city of Portland is an interesting example along with Charlotte and Turin of the informal style. Here you don’t have a corporate structure you don’t have any formal organization, any mandate that says, “Portland this is what we are going to do to learn.” It happens on the go. Portland, for example here, you see the green boxes are now famous in Portland are quite common, they were not always green, but they are common in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Portland went and saw these things and these boxes to facilitate, particularly right hand turns of motorized traffic after someone was fatally injured in a traffic accident in Portland.
They were motivated to go and see how other cities handled this, and it’s a perfect example of how they implemented a very simple design solution in Portland learning from Copenhagen and Amsterdam. A different kind of learning and could achieve is what I call a technical approach. Curitiba has a think tank that has been operating for 50 years. So the technical part is, in the minds of group of people up to – it’s varied a lot over 50 years, but this technical group call IPPUC brought all the outside ideas in the heads of people who are working in IPPUC. They didn’t so much go out and travel elsewhere, although that happened.
They brought the ideas internally, imbedded in the minds of people who are already exposed to those ideas and created wonderfully innovative and creative solutions like this bus stop which is really around a plastic tube that has a couple of stairways so that future passengers get onto a platform, buy their tickets, wait for the bus, when the bus pulls up a little platform comes across connecting the platform and the bus so the elevation is exactly the same, so you don’t have old ladies and baby carriages going upstairs. People already have their tickets the transaction time in getting onto this thing is just like a metro basically. We’ve seen this before.
But it was a very creative solution to these people in IPPUC created for themselves. Bilbao is a third example of corporate learner. Here you have a formalized structure of elected officials widely representative of the institutions in and around of the Bilbao region, city, providence, national, universities, church, labor unions, chambers of commerce, all kinds of groups that thought very carefully of what they wanted to do when they decided to make a wholesale change in the city of Bilbao because of the opening of the European Union and the common market. They knew they were going to be toast.
The economy was not going to last any longer because the trade barriers that the Spanish National legislation created for them were going to disappear. So they decided in a very collective way, after many visits and incorporating over a period of about 10 years, 40 seminars with international experts. The learning was coming into them and it was guided in this very formalized structure that resulted in things like the Getty Museum and new Conference Center and a number of other wonderful public arts, moving the whole Port out of the downtown center of the Nervion River to the bay.
One problem that all of these different types of cities have to solve, the most critical problem is linking together public, private and other civic private groups in a very comprehensive way. What came out of the study is that each of these different styles of learning solved this problem in a slightly different way, but each of them showed what I call clouds of trust were operating at some level in each of the cities. These are representations of the interviews that I conducted in each of the cities asking my interviewees to name me people they trusted implicitly in the domain of work in which they were all engaged.
So you can see the clouds all look different. Part of this is sample, part of this is structure of the city, part of it is the history. So they are not strictly comparable one to another. But you get the very different look at these exchange mechanisms of ideas. And the literature on knowledge economies and creating innovative menus’ all goes to the question of trust, that’s why I ask the trust question in the survey. So that I would ask each of the informants please name me ten people you trust implicitly. If they were to call you on the phone and ask you your judgment about a specific activity or idea you are going to give him a ‘no BS’ answer and vice versa. There is kind of a reciprocal trust.
You don’t care about position or corporate or family or income or any of those things in who you name because this is all confidential anyway. So the resulting thing is you get very coherent clouds like, let me see if I have, on top is Turin which shows a very tight cluster and they are coherent, they are all on the same page. They all understand each other and they believe, many of them believe that the same persons are the most trust worthy persons. The circle on the top there shows the rector of the university who had the most votes for the most trusted person in the city. By the way there were no elected officials that appeared in those most trusted places.
Whereas on the bottom is another city where you see a little cluster there that is circles in red on the outside that is not connected to anybody else in the city. And that is an important legal counsel in a public place in the city. I’m not going to give away the details in this. But the point is you get isolates, you know. So there are, you can compare these two and you say well, look at Turin is going to answer questions and respond to challenges and stimuli differently, perhaps more quickly than network analysis would say than Portland down below. But Portland has these sub-clusters, you know, the bike group, the land use group, the business community, the urban park people all represent different clusters there and the point is it just might work for Portland. You have a very difficult problem that the solution might come from one of those outside groups even though they are not really coherent. Rather as up on top you are singing to the choir in that sense.
So you have tightness in coherent verses lucent and diversity. What varies in this learning is that the organizations that sponsor whether it’s informal or technical or corporate each have a different style of operating. Their scope of what they care about and what they focus on is different. The business community for instance tends to focus on commercial questions. The destinations they pick to go and learn from are all different. Some are local, some are regional, and some are global. The delegations that compose these learning groups of course vary quite a lot. And how much continuity is there?
We see from the cities that are really succeeded that this goes over three to four decades with the same groups being involved. The elected officials cycle out with each electrical period. Yes they are important because they are running the city; they have the mandate of the people, but you also have to have people who believe in their place, where they live and care about the future. They have to be involved in this as well. And their minds are going to carry these ideas forward so the repository, the library of knowledge sticks in the people’s heads who care about their city. That’s why the clouds of trust are so important.
There are many reasons why you might choose one style or another – I won’t go into it – and their features differ in terms of their flexibility and the terms of their ability to bring in new players like the young people. If you are talking about a forty year span to really be a successful city you have to have new blood coming in. How is that going to work? How does that process work particularly in the clouds of trust?
The only thing to look at here is these three column headings. You can categorize learning into three phases as well. One would be simply, ‘Are you getting, are you acquiring new knowledge? Are you preserving it somehow?’ The second is, ‘Do you institutionalize that knowledge some way so it’s accessible to the future and to people who need it?’ And the third thing, which is really sort of the golden egg, is, ‘Can you create an innovative milieu that stays in the city that is open to new ideas that that allows those ideas to be incorporated into innovations?’
So there are many outside and internal factors that drive these changes and you can’t do much about the macro climate; you can’t do much about calamities, but you can be ready to respond to them. Internally it’s important to create those, that social capital of people who are related to one another, who trust one another. That takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of civic engagement. You can do something about tissue of remembering which is create an institution that chief information officer [inaudible 00:17:00] was talking about this yesterday. Create somebody who is in charge of guiding the management and knowledge creation of a place. Do internal seminars. Open a web page, do blogs, put the new knowledge somewhere so the people can have access to it. The better of these cities did this.
I’ll close here and then turn it over to Benjamin who will be next in the sequence to talk about different ways that people have learned and examples at a sub-city level as well as the regional level. Benjamin from the Rockefeller Foundation, Associate Director of Urban Programs I think. Here you have for my final slide the website to the book BeyondSmartCities.org. Take a look. Thank you very much.
Benjamin de la Peña
Thank you Tim, good morning. I’m going to walk you through – thank you for that presentation – walk you through why I think it’s so difficult for cities to learn. All of those clouds of connections and travel that you showed over a period of a decade, two decades that they have been doing this, and yet there seems to be a lot of problems shared and few solutions that are moved forward.
This is a graph that Steward Brand wrote the book “The Long Now,” – I strongly recommend this book. He wrote about the concept of pace layering. The is the cycle and pace of change in a society. So the outer ring moves very fast and changes very fast. If brown shoes come into fashion here in the U.S., pretty soon you will see it in Europe of the other way around and then you will see it in Asia within a matter of months. Same thing with length of the hemlines or shape of the sleeves. Same thing with whatever people like to buy – yeah, smartphones.
Below that is commerce. Commerce meaning business, the practices of business, the styles of business; that moves faster. Below it is infrastructure. That usually goes on a decade long cycle. Below that is governance, not government, but governance, meaning who is ruling and what are the priorities of the ruling class. Below that is culture and below that is nature. And that the lower cycles move slower, but provide the power for the cycles above. The cycles above affect the cycles below and they are much, much faster and much more energetic and usually they disrupt what is below them. But the power comes from the cycles above. So that is the frame of it.
I give you some examples of how this faster than fashion now is Internet means. Now I wonder if any of you have seen this. This is Chemistry Cat. This Internet means spread in the matter of seconds to minutes around the net. This is the Chemistry Cat, someone came up with the first joke and in a matter of minutes you had hundreds of thousands of variations of this joke.
Anyone know what this is? Just raise your hand and say what it is. Anyone here planked? This started sometime in the middle of this year, people just started thinking it was the right; it was fun to post straight out with your arms beside you and it became a contest of how strange are the strange places you could do planking. And it’s all over the world now.
I will come back to this story a bit. Now you’ve got people who plank on things like this and so the stranger the plank, the funnier it gets and it’s this exchange and if you Google planking. So Internet means fashion moves very fast. So that kind of rapidity of learning, if you can call it learning or mean, moves very fast and it is facilitated by the technologies we have now. Closer Connections. So in the power of the week time, I am more in touch with my high school classmates now in this last two years than I have ever been in the last two decades. Not that I care to be, but somehow Facebook seems to – I get friended by people ñ “You were my friend at high school?” Somehow the technology does that.
Commerce moves very fast. Of course McDonalds in Tokyo and the same thing with Starbucks or fake Starbucks – also there is a Starbuck in Nepal in the foothills of the Himalaya, at least a fake Starbucks. These concepts from business, even the model of franchise moves very fast across the world. There is cell phone service or cell phone store in Somalia, even in the worst kind of unstable conditions. There are three cell phone companies; I think the last time counted maybe four competing very strongly within the Somalian market. So commerce moves even despite the presence of strong infrastructure or strong governments.
Infrastructure. They say this highway in China looks very much like an interchange in Atlanta or somewhere here in the west. We have exported this too. People picking it up. We are exporting problems too. The infrastructure moves at a slightly slower pace – to get a train line built maybe seven years, a highway shorter than that, but it moves rather rapidly. So the question is in terms of what timeframe cities learning solutions ñ the toughest part that we want to crack really is how do we get the changes in governance? This is driven very much, it is slow because of the cycles are involved in governments. And I’ll extract this out into just the cycles of government.
Again bottom slower, more powerful, top faster, but weaker and shorter cycles. So you’ve got the advocacies of – you’ve got the logical cycle, it’s really good, you can do a new law or a revision to law six months to maybe one year, maybe with the exception of the current Congress right now in the U.S., but in most cities and most countries it’s six to one year cycle. Below that it’s the electrical cycle which also drives it. In a two to six year cycle there is a good reason why you want two or somewhere between six – it’s the control of the budget and how many budgets you have, a hold off over your time period, the less, the less control you actually have over change.
It’s not about that in some of the examples that Tim said in Bilbao, it took them ten years to do that full change into an agreement of what they needed to do in Bilbao. The mayor who enacted the changes, particularly with a crowning piece, the Guggenheim, was kicked out after the first term. Penalosa who expanded bus rapid transit taking the Curitiba model took it to Bogot·, very successful – also lost. He was limited to one term; he lost the next time he tried to run. He’s running again and hopefully he will win. So sometimes the people who want to do change also get kicked out, but the change stays.
Then there is the advocacy cycle that we know, that to get any real change going in legislation and in policy, we are talking about four to twenty years, a generation change. Think about the campaigns to ban smoking or to label smoking as cancerous and what else have you. There are long cycles involved. That’s why it takes a long while for this to change. But hopefully there are new ways of interaction and interfacing between cities and the government and taking components and learning from each other. I will give you a couple of examples.
Here is the public consultation process. The planners would know this. So you get here is the proposed plan, we’ll consult, we’ll reformulate based upon the consultation. We’ll do a final draft, there will be comments and if you are lucky we finalize it. It’s either an approved plan or a legislation. This is the luck that this can take a year, maybe four. And so some of the technologies we are looking at now, or coming up now, which we are learning from the web and methodologies that are rapidly spreading across the globe are changing some of this dynamic. And we’ll see what happens. I don’t have a solution really or a clear example that this is going to change – allow cities to change more rapidly.
In many cases this is what happens in government. Those of you who are engineers will understand what is wrong with this picture. This is the metro shuffle in Manchester. This is their poster, let’s work together. Those gears cannot work together. Okay, this is ‘Change by Us,’ lead by [inaudible 26:14] for cities and local projects. Julia Clyburn is over there if you want to talk to her and ask her about that later. And what ‘Change by Us’ wanted to was to change this process. The public consultation process. Which is mostly has been built around complaints. It’s usually the old retired guy who nothing else to do who would go to the planning commission meeting and yell, “That’s wrong, you should never do that.”
Change that to “Can we get the city citizens to give us ideas?” And apart from giving us ideas can we mobilize them into teams that will enact these ideas? So you can give your suggestion, you can put your ideas into action if other people sign up into your idea, you can start organizing. This is based upon the model of meet ups. ‘Change By Us’ is my favorite, but there are many more models who do this. They also, if I’m right here, give small grants to people who want to start up projects. And you see a list of some of those projects that citizens decide, “I want to do this” and someone else says, “Yeah, I want to help you with that one.” And there is a connection directly with city leaders. Not just government leaders, but also non-profits and universities.
There are about a hundred non-profits involved with this. As of last count they had 25,000 ideas for suggestions, 2,500 projects had been formed – groups had been formed – about 250 projects were on their way. So a new way of not just ‘What is your complaint?’ but, ‘Can you bring in your idea? Can you mobilize citizens around this?’ Here’s another model, Shack/Slum Dwellers International, one of my favorite organizations in the world. They started as slum dwellers fighting eviction in one or two communities. They connected with other communities; they connected across cities. They are now in thirty-five countries. It’s a federation of slum dwellers who are empowering themselves.
One of the basic things they do is mobilize the community to talk about the future of that informal settlement and they do what are called enumerations. One of the hallmarks of exclusion in a society is that you are not counted. If you remember Bill [inaudible 28:26] pictures of maps from Map Kibera, the Ground Truth Project, where governments don’t even map these slums and they don’t do settlements. What they do is they say, “This is who we are; this is how many people live here.” So they enumerate and they bring that data; they bring those facts up and deal with the cities.
They also do a lot of exchanges and this is how they learn. They call them exchanges – what leaders from one community visit another community in the city. Leaders from one city visit another city somewhere else in the world. They exchange these methodologies and rituals and learning so that the action comes very much quicker. Third example: Civic Commons. Taking from the open source model of software where you can take components and share them and allow other people to use them. They had a simple question. If Chicago develops some sort of customer citizen relationship management platform for $50 million, why does Denver have to spend the same amount? If Chicago can release that and Denver needs to change a few things in it, maybe spend $3 million, and then the next city Boulder will have to spend less.
It’s about taking software that cities are run on and making them open source and putting them in the civic commons that other cities can learn from. And also the contracting, the how do you write policy around this that then becomes shared across cities. That’s the vision of Civic Commons. They are also part of a group called ‘Good for America.’ I strongly suggest you Google them too. Hopefully you can take these components and cities can then learn from other cities very quickly and tighten the little packets that you plug and play into your city. Whether this will work or not, we don’t know, but it’s pretty exciting.
So, going back, and this is my last of two slides, sometimes the clashes between the very fast and the very slow parts of society and how they don’t quite understand each other. This is a protest in Metro Manila by the legal Philippine students who are opposing oil price hikes. They decided that in their protest they are going to plank on the road, thereby a main highway, really, and then they just block the whole road.
A Congressman became very concerned about planking and learned more about what planking was all about and he decides to write the anti-planking act of 2011. This is Windy Costelo. He is a Congressman from Quezon City, one of the component cities of Metro Manila. He says, “Prevent this because it’s dangerous, people can run over you when you are planking.” And you can imagine that the Internet did not appreciate this at all. In a matter of hours there were millions and millions of tweets castigating Congressman Costelo for criticizing planking.
I’ll end on that humorous note, but hopefully somewhere in the presentation you understood the challenges in getting changes in the cities and some of the promises of how we could do this better or faster with a better interfaces between citizens and government. I got one more slide. Sorry that’s a back one. It’s just a thank you slide. Thank you very much.
Thank you Benjamin wonderful with humor there to boot. Then great examples. So now we will go to Dr. Anki Dellnas who is the Director for Knowledge at the Institute for Local Democracy in Sweden to give us her perspective and I see that we have André Herzog on the line. Hi André in Washington, glad you are with us. We with you right after Anki’s presentation. Anki?
Thank you. So good morning everyone. Let me first say some words about my center, the Institution. We are part of the Swedish Development International Corporation. So my examples are taken from our activities. What I would share with you here is how is city to city learning – difference types of learning that takes place when in our programs – we are coming from the North; we have municipalities from Sweden, practitioners who are partners with municipalities in a list of countries who are selected by the Swedish government to be part of the Development Corporation.
So what I have done is I have divided this presentation into kind of three parts. I start to talk a little bit about how learning inside a city at the local level takes place and what I think are some necessary conditions for a successful experience sharing with other cities in the world. Then I will talk a little bit about how regions learn from each other. You know in Sweden we have a very strong local self-government system. It is a highly decentralized system which enables the local governments to really create, design their way of how they want to run their cities. And you can also see that, depending upon what strategy they decide to take, there are various results.
In my last point to you is one of those more successful Swedish learning experience, a city not far from where I come from, called Boros that have been participating in a very successful international corporation with a city in Indonesia. Let me start with this one. This slide is trying to say something about what are the conditions to create this intellectual learning environment within a city. And we have already heard from the previous presentation presenters, some of the key points that are important.
It is important for a city to have a strategy. To have a strategy when you talk about these local governments coming from government to governments where not always the responsibilities are clear. Who is responsible for delivering services to the citizens? Sometimes it’s outsourced to the private sector; sometimes the local government still has the responsibility. And you can see in many cities and this is not totally clear. I think in a system of governments it’s even more important to have, to create a strategy how you deal with those issues. So what we have seen from the Swedish perspective, that cities who have committed themselves to a kind of life-long learning structure where you try to build on relations between the local governments, the universities and also the private sector are the most successful.
This is easily said, not always so easy to do. What you need to create is to bring in the citizens. We have talked a little bit about participation and how you use the citizens of the city to share with the city leaders, the private sectors, their ideas on how they want to design their city. So it is very much about how to create arenas where you can share your knowledge and your experiences. I recently had a group of 27 participants from different countries in Africa coming to Sweden on a capacity building program. They stayed in Sweden for three weeks and we take them to different local governments that share with them their experiences from working in those areas.
And one of the most striking things that this group later on told us was how impressed they were with those arenas where you bring together the private sector, the local government and the universities. Because when you talk about sustainability it is not only about the local governments who create things, it’s also about to bring in the other stakeholders. This slide, it looks strange – I would have the full one. This is about the region. The region of Vastra Gotaland which is on the west coast of Sweden. This region consists of approximately 50 municipalities, cities of different sizes. And as you are well aware about, you don’t talk about nations anymore. It’s much more about regions or now a days even cities.
So there has to be linkages between the cities and the regions and how they work together. What do the regions have done? The regions in Sweden are responsible for, mainly for regional development, for public transportation and for the infrastructure. The public transportations are very important to have the local governments, the municipalities really work fully. You can live in one municipality but you can easily go to your work or your university in another municipality. It is also very important for the regions to create job opportunities. To build on what they have. And also take it to new levels.
What they have done in this region, which is a special region in the sense that it is not a capital city; it has to rely on other things than the government agencies and all what attracts a capital city in a country. They have to build on other things. This region has been a heavily industrial region. This region is where the Volvo cars and Saab is manufactured, so has been heavily industrial area. But now when this transfer to a more knowledge economy has occurred, what do they do? You are maybe all aware about the programs that Saab has and that region especially is – the factories of Saab and the design and the technology there has been so important for this area. But if they cannot rely on that, how do they do?
What they decided to do was to try to create what they call science parks where they bring together again the local government, private sector and the universities. Here’s the state, the government of Sweden, also been important because we used to have very few highly academic universities in Sweden. But as part of regional development they decided also to create more community college type universities. They are more related to what kind of knowledge, what kind of industry you have in this area and how can we build on that to create new job opportunities. And that’s exactly what they have done in this area. So there is now a small university college which tried to attract the former technology but also develop it further.
And they have as part of this also created all those science parks which are even more specialized in the sense that you have the Innovatum Technology Park, building on the technology of the car industry. Trying to take that to a new level and also trying to bring in new ideas. A lot from [inaudible 41:21] and Nicole Kidman and all of those have been there because now they have started a film industry. Which is quite successful. We have something very different from what they used to do in that region. You have the Sahlgrenska Science Park in Gothenburg where I come from, which is heavily relying in biomedicine. So they try to tap on the existing knowledge. Bring together all the relevant partners and take it from there.
You have the business, you have the academy and you have the public sector which are the key stakeholders. This is called the triple helix model. This last slide is about the city of Boros which I told you about. Boros is a city of about 1000 inhabitants. They are very committed to waste management. They have since 1986 worked heavily with waste management and are now what they call a clean green city. So there is a city of clean and green, where people enjoy their lives, is one of their slogans. What they do is they collect garbage from households and they recycle it and convert it into biogas for vehicles but also for heating and electricity. So all the local government buses in the region and all the cars that the local government of Boros has are on biogas.
So it’s a neutral-carbonite city in that sense. This particular partnership that I want to talk a little bit about is between this city, the local government of Boros, it’s a private company, the Boros Energy Company – it used to be a government company but it’s now a private business. It’s the University of Boros and it’s also technical research institute called SP.
They decided to try to build on what they have and also partner with this little town in Indonesia. Near New Jakarta. I think the key points I want to make with this slide is to highlight the fact that this didn’t happen overnight. It was a very strategic thinking starting with a university exchange. So we are not transferring advanced Swedish technology into a developing country. No, it’s not about that. It’s about sharing the experiences they have from this project and create the conditions for a local ownership. Enabling a situation in that city ñ in New Jakarta ñ where thy can handle the technology by themselves.
They should not rely on us. Because that is not a sustainable way of learning. When our support, because as I said it’s part of the development corporation. When our funding is ending the project then will end. But this is not the case here. What they did here was they transferred some of their experiences, their knowledge; they built knowledge in the city, in the local government and in the private sector. And that was all very successful. This is still going on and there are now biogas plans, which give the citizens in this area electricity and also enable them to reduce their waste. I think I stop here because that’s a good example of how learning can take place. Thank you.
Great, thank you so much. So now we will turn to our colleague in Washington André Herzog who I see on my video screen anyway is waiting patiently for our presentation. André I’m not sure which direction you are going to take this, I think it maybe Pearl in India. Yes?
Great. Thank you.
Well thank you very much team, it’s a pleasure to be here with you, and yes, I would like to relate it to illustrate what we are doing in the World Bank Institute, the new strategy of World Bank Institute. I am involved in India that team knows that it has been a great collaborator. But before, let me give you a quick overview about WBI that would help you understand this. In WBI, the World Bank Institute, we are the capacity building arm of the World Bank Group. It is a very old institution even older than the World Bank. In addition, we focus on training, structural training, classroom training. We realized that in this knowledge age, and with changes in the world economy, people in general organizations really want to learn from all the organizations, bureau organizations.
That’s a change; I’ve seen change that has taken place. And WBI three years ago came with a new strategy to really move from a provider of learning to a facilitator of learning. And look at how it can upscale the impact being focused more on the use of technology; I think the first presentation was brilliant about the importance of the usage of technology. We have a big program of knowledge and innovation and new learning, but also how to bring this new approach to learning to achieve scale. And it’s all about, as I said, moving from a provider to more of a broker role. That’s what WBI is focused now in its business and I will illustrate this more with our program in India. I myself work intensively in India, in South Africa and in Brazil.
Three of the bricks and in fact these three countries they have a pier learning network, the IBSA. Trilateral agreement was in the Economist a couple months ago in [inaudible 48:34]. The heads of state are meeting in two weeks’ time in South Africa and we are also helping to the IBSA to really establish a pier learning program behind of it. Not to give you a very concrete example of how important is the pier learning and how cost effective, an impact it can have. About two years ago when I was in India the Minister of Housing told us, “Look, we need to tackle the issue of urban poverty in India. We don’t know how to do that and we want to know who has done it. What has worked and what has not worked.”
So we facilitated a dialogue with the government of Brazil. They visited Brazil; they came back in a month time. The President of India launched [inaudible 49:37] for the urban poor, a bold national program to address urban poverty in India. This was inspired by what they saw in Brazil. This couldn’t have happened in a normal platform. It is only learning from countries that have gone through a similar process of urbanization and the challenge of urban poverty. And they recognized that – more and more the south recognized that the importance of [inaudible 50:13] learning.
These are countries in similar states of development or are going towards similar stage of development, they really can learn from all the countries. Brazil is more urbanized and you can learn a lot of what has worked – a lot of what not worked and avoid some of the mistakes that Brazil did. That is really important. We see also a big change in terms of North South learning vis-‡-vis South, South learning. And with that I want also to focus on the work we are doing with the National Institute of Urban Affairs, in a way the think tank to Minister of Urban Development in India.
In India, to give a little bit of background, culturally speaking people don’t feel comfortable to learn from other piers. They are very traditional – you go to school, you go to university, you learn from people that are there to train you. So the first challenge was ñ “How do you create confidence for cities to share what they are doing and to look for experience innovations solutions from other cities.” This was really not easy. So in our approach, the Word Bank Institute in [inaudible 51:45] alliance and received a grant to create a national network among cities under what they call the JNNURM which is the urban flagship program in India exactly to create this pier learning environment among cities.
They are receiving in fact about $10 to $12 billion in investment. So this is the soft side of the investment that the government is doing. The first thing we asked ourselves is “How does city learning network function – what works and what does not work?” If we are going to help this network to be created and be effective, we also need to step back and understand in other countries how this network functions. So we did a big stock taking around the globe and we came up with very interesting conclusions that really re-shaped the model of Pearl.
Very interesting to see now that cities in India are now approaching Pearl to share their experiences and to look for other cities that have other experiences to learn from them. Two years ago this wasn’t possible. You couldn’t even think and now this is taking place. We did a partnership with Septa, a university in Ahmadabad, a research about exactly how city learns in India and what stops the cities learning in India. One of the main conclusions that came from the study was that the problem is that if you are working on a local administration in a city in India – first of all you are completely overwhelmed.
The administration has very few staff for the function that they have and the size of their challenges. There is really no time to participate in learning activities, etc. If they have time, and they have a challenge – for example India is now starting to implement BRTs, it was mentioned here. What do they do? If you want to learn how a BRT functions, how to [inaudible 54:12] for BRT – well you go to Curitiba, to Bogot·, or to another city that have done, to learn from. But what we find in our research is that that they don’t do that, because culturally what is accepted is that instead of going and ask a question to someone that knows more than you know, has more experience to share with you, you go to someone in a lower hierarchy level. And you have to break that.
So there is some very important cultural aspects in terms of city to city learning and pier learning that we have to understand and have to come with different ideas to tackle that. I think that what I really would like to highlight and finalize the issues that today people want to know how things work from people that have faced the same challenges. And that’s the key message. That’s how we are re-shaping the World Banking Institute. I leave with that. Thank you very much.
André thank you. I’m afraid we’ve run out of time and we don’t have time for questions, but I would just leave it that we’ve seen a richness of ideas that cultural side that André just mentioned. The Government side that Aankhen has talked about and with Benjamin’s ideas of the self-incentives to go viral is something that we may want to look at also to speed up and hasten city to city learning. Thank you very much for your patience. We’ll all be around for questions afterwards outside.