Master Talks

New for 2013, each day begins with six to eight thought leaders providing their newest and best ideas for creating great urban places in a 10-15 minute presentation. Collectively, these talks will deliver an inspiring two hour plenary session each morning of the Congress.

Mayor Bloomberg

Distinguished Guest Presentation

Michael R. Bloomberg

Mayor, New York City

Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. He was first elected in November 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a time when many believed that crime would return, businesses would flee, and New York might take decades to recover. Instead, through hundreds of innovative new policies and initiatives, Mayor Bloomberg has made New York City safer, stronger, and greener than ever.

Today, compared to 2001, crime is down by more than 35 percent. The welfare rolls are down nearly 22 percent. High school graduation rates are up more than 40 percent since 2005. Ambulance response times are at record lows. Teen smoking is down more than 50 percent. More than 755 acres of new parkland have been added. The Mayor's economic policies have helped New York City avoid the level of job losses that many other cities experienced during the national recession. Today, New York City has more private sector jobs than at any point in history.


Cross Channel- Real Estate's Hope in an Online Retail World

Maureen Atkinson

Senior Partner, Urban Marketing Collaborative

Atkinson co-founded Urban Marketing Collaborative in 1987. She has consulted with many governments, business associations and individual retailers. She is a frequent speaker on Retail Revitalization and a former IDA Board Member.

Beynon Headshot

Re:Streets- A Fundamental Re-thinking of Our Streets

Christopher Beynon

Principal, Director of Planning & Design Services, MIG Inc.

Chris is a national leader in the transformation of cities. Through dynamic imagery, quantitative data and energetic storytelling, Chris leads audiences on a path of discovery to revolutionize the spaces we travel in and use every single day – our streets.

Alice Cabaret

The Maboneng Precinct: Creating a "place of light" in Downtown Johannesburg

Alice Cabaret

Urban Strategist and Operations Manager for Propertuity, developers of the Maboneng Precinct

Maboneng, meaning ‘Place of Light’, is an urban neighbourhood on the east side of Johannesburg CBD. Maboneng is home to several independent retail, restaurants and entertainment venues as well as loft apartments, offices, hotel, a museum and creative factory spaces in an urban landscape.

Carroll Headshot

The Creation of Town Teams in the UK

Shanaaz Carroll

Deputy Chief Executive, Association of Town & City Management

ATCM is Europe's largest membership organisation dedicated to helping town and city centres realise their natural roles both as prosperous locations for business and investment, and as focal points for vibrant, inclusive communities.


Diversity = Innovation: Why Place-Based Tech Incubation Can Change Everything

Majora Carter

President, Majora Carter Group LLC; Co-Founder, StartUp Box; Founder, Sustainable South Bronx

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster.  She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems. Her 2006 TED talk was one of the first 6 videos to launch their groundbreaking website.

StartUpBox is a tech education and entrepreneurship project that's seeding the ground for community participation in accessible & lucrative economic growth trends for the 21st century. In 2012, Majora was one of’s ‘Silicon Alley 100’, a strong supporter and participant of #Focus100, and one of Goldman-Sachs ‘100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs’.


City Economics: Cities as Economic and Entreprenurial Hubs

Ed Glaeser, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Glaeser’s recent book, “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier”, focuses on the economic promise of the city structure and sees urban centers as viable tools to combat many 21st century social problems, while serving as a catalyst for economic growth. Glaeser advocates for a necessary change in policy to encourage talent to move to the city.


The Evolution of BIDs in Britain- Key Drivers of Chance

Dr. Julie Grail

Chief Executive, British Bids

Leading the way on the development and evolution of BIDs in Britain, Dr. Julie Grail is Chief Executive of British BIDs. Her extensive knowledge and experience derives from leadership of the first UK pilot BIDs together with twos decade of direct engagement.


Innovative Approaches to Modern Public Engagement

Kristopher Larson, AICP

CEO, Downtown Grand Rapids

Award winning planner and economist, Larson has ascended to positions of leadership in communities through the integration of creative, sincere methods for building civic engagement, collaboration, and consensus.


Defining Downtowns- How Many People Work and Live in your Downtown?

Paul Levy

President & CEO, Center City District

Levy is the founding chief executive of the Center City District, serving in that capacity since January 1991. The CCD is a $19.4 million downtown management district, which provides security, cleaning, place marketing, promotion, and planning services for the central business district of Philadelphia.

Stuart Pertz

New City Making, Disciple Place Making

Stuart Pertz

Professor, Pratt Institute

Stuart Pertz is an architect, an urban designer, an urban planner, a facility strategist, a management consultant and a community planning advocate. Bridging two careers for his first twenty-five years in the profession, Mr. Pertz was a Professor of Architecture and Planning and then Chair of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at Pratt Institute while pursuing his practice. He has lectured extensively and developed course work and curricula for a variety of city, strategic and facility planning courses.


Design as a City Asset- Lessons from Cape Town

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana

Managing Director, Cape Town Partnership

Makalima-Ngewana is a qualified town planner with extensive experience in managing public-private partnerships. An urban revivalist at heart, she has spent the last eight years with the Cape Town Partnership managing, developing and promoting Cape Town’s Central City as an economically thriving, creative and valued public and private space in which to live, work and play.


Should Mobility be an Urban Right?

Janette Sadik-Khan

Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation

Through her work, Saik-Khan has remained committed to increasing populations’ accessibility to transportation resources, striving to give all New Yorkers the ability to be mobile within, as well as to and from, the urban enclave. She has made major infrastructure improvements throughout the city to allow for more widespread urban mobility, and has done so in a comprehensive and sustainable way.


Introducing Place Management in a New Country: The Singapore Story

Ty Tabing

Executive Director, Singapore River One

Tabing joined SRO in June 2012, selected due to leadership in creative placemaking and economic development. Previously he was Executive Director of the Chicago Loop Alliance where he created events and public art installations receiving global media attention.

Mark Thompson

Modern Media and the Global City

Mark Thompson

President & Chief Executive Offiver, The New York Times Company

Mark Thompson became president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company in November 2012. He is responsible for leading the Company's strategy, operations and business units, and working closely with the chairman to direct the vision of the company.

Jeremy Travis

Promoting Safety: Global Trends and Local Strategies

Jeremy Travis

President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jeremy Travis is President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Since his appointment in 2004, President Travis has led a transformation of John Jay College, increasing baccalaureate freshman enrollment by 40%, expanding full time faculty from 338 to 449, supporting the development of liberal arts majors and tripling external funding for faculty research. From 2008 to 2009, President Travis served as Chair of the Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice, appointed by New York Governor David A. Paterson, culminating in the Task Force report recommending significant changes to the state's juvenile justice system.

Marcel Van Ooyen

Sustainability and Urban Agriculture

Marcel Van Ooyen

Executive Director, GrowNY

GrowNYC is working alongside residents to create a healthy and more sustainable New York City for generations to come. They work with communities block by block, person by person. On any given day in the five boroughs, residents now have access to more than 50 Greenmarkets where they can purchase fresh, healthy, local produce and more from small farmers who keep 35,000 acres in production.

Rob Walsh

The City as a Catalyst for Neighborhood Revitalization

Robert W. Walsh

Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services

Walsh was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) by Mayor Bloomberg in January 2002. During his tenure, he has reshaped the Agency to directly focus on and respond to the needs of the City’s 200,000 small businesses—the first time that a City agency has been completely dedicated to this goal..


The Recipe for Successful Urban Revitalization

Carl Weisbrod

Partner, HR&A

Before joining HR&A, Weisbrod served as President of the Real Estate Division of Trinity Church and Executive Vice President Resident of Trinity Church-St. Paul’s Chapel. He was also the Founding President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, a group key in the revitalization of lower Manhattan, as well as for the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Willy Wong

Design, Branding, and the City

Willy Wong

Chief Creative Officer, NYC & Company

NYC & Company is New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. Their mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world. With the launch of major interactive initiatives—including and the Official NYC Information Center—NYC & Company becomes the ultimate resource for visitors and residents to find everything they need about what to do and see in New York City..