More than 4,000 urban change-makers from around the world were bound for Rotterdam later this year when the 2021 Urban Future Global Conference was scheduled to happen at the city's brand new AHOY. Given the global COVID pandemic's volatile development and the subsequent significant uncertainties for live events, the Urban Future team and the City of Rotterdam are announcing the event's postponement. Alternatives are in the making!
Rotterdam © Sophia Van Den Hoek
A brand-new 'Urban Future' is coming up! Rotterdam live event rescheduled, premiere of a virtual format in autumn and digital CityChangers home-base in the making.
Rotterdam on hold
Rotterdam's Vice Mayor for Sustainability, Clean Air and Energy Transition, Arno Bonte, explains the decision, "While we were excited to welcome the most inspiring and passionate urban change-makers from all around the world here in Rotterdam this June, we realised that – due to the complete uncertainty around Covid-19 – this is currently not possible. UFGC and the city of Rotterdam are setting the course to forward our mutual event towards a future date, and we'll keep on working hard – together with talented local CityChangers – to amaze the international audience with a multitude of new actions towards a greener, happier and more livable Rotterdam."
Next chance to meet physically
Gerald Babel-Sutter, CEO and Founder of the Urban Future, describes the pathway for the upcoming years, "We are optimistic for big live events to make a comeback in 2022. Especially, urban decision-makers need this type of face-to-face cross-border exchange. That is why I am pleased to announce the hosts of the next two Urban Future Live editions. Urban enthusiasts will finally meet again in person in a Swedish city (June 1-3, 2022) and the German city of Stuttgart (June 21-23, 2023)!"
While the postponement of this year's live event was of course disappointing for the organisers, partners and the entire community, it also created an exceptional opportunity. The team was able to bundle all resources in a project brought up by the community itself.
"Every day, we are receiving emails from urban change makers asking us to share more authentic transformation stories, more specific know-how, more inspiration and motivation," says Gerald Babel-Sutter. "Together with our around 100 partner organisations, we are therefore setting up a virtual 'home base' for CityChangers. This digital home will provide the collective know-how and expertise of hundreds of experts – 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, free of charge. Users can also generate and contribute their own content and connect with like-minded change-makers from hundreds of cities. "
About the 'Urban Future'
The Urban Future is the world's largest meeting place for CityChangers, people who strive to make their cities more sustainable with lots of passion and commitment. They implement concrete projects, thus improving life in the respective city. The Urban Future brings our brightest minds together, regarding itself as a neutral platform without any political agenda. The conference was co-founded in 2014 by Gerald Babel-Sutter and took place in a different European city every year. Since 2014, visitor numbers have tripled. The 2020 edition in Lisbon had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. 2021 will see the first fully virtual event and a new digital home-base for CityChangers around the world.