Archives: Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities: 2002

A hero is someone who does what he can: the others do not.
– Romain Rolland, Nobel in Literature, 1915

From the editor : EcoPlan International, Paris, 28 September 2018.

Back in 2002 I was invited by the mayor of Stockholm and the team behind the Stockholm Partnership for Sustainable Cities to join them as Senior International Adviser and Jury Chairman, working together with team leaders, Adam Holmström and Gregor Hackman, to prepare, conduct and follow-up on this major collaborative  international event. We thought you might find some interest on how these challenges of sustainable cities were being looked at and dealt with (or not) sixteen long years ago. For the full program you can click here to   http://bit.ly/2xZgpvP . In this brief extract, we introduce the international jury: outstanding thinkers and leaders working in many different ways on the challenges of sustainable cities, most of whom are still, happily, continuing to work on these challenges today.

In Brief

The vision of the Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities is to gather comprehensive knowledge and information on the most innovative and inspiring sustainability projects from all over the world in a grand exposure of urban solutions and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and technology from these initiatives. The Stockholm Partnerships has as its mission to facilitate for those who represent national or local governments, industry, non-governmental organisations, academia, media, finance institutions, international organisations, etc. to share knowledge and experience in the field of applied technology and management.

This event wishes to create bonds and networks between companies, projects, individuals, non-governmental organisations, experts and cities. The backbone of the Stockholm Partnerships is a conviction that many creative solutions to common problems of cities already exist. However, we know much too little about them. Therefore, you are cordially invited to http://bit.ly/2xZgpvP to participate, so that you can share your suggested solutions with other pioneers in urban sustainability.

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Stockholm Partnerships International Jury

·   Award Procedures
·  The Virtual Jury
·  What kind of Jury?

The Stockholm Partnerships Jury brings together a panel of distinguished individuals representing a very wide range of international backgrounds and experience on the issue areas and concerns of the 2002 Stockholm Partnerships program. The judges are located in all parts of the world and are freely giving of their time and expertise to support what each of the members think is a great idea. Chairman is Francis E. K. Britton, Managing Director of EcoPlan International in Paris, France and Founding Editor of World Streets.

The jury brings to their challenging task a truly global perspective on the concept of sustainable development, with first hand experience of and with innovative sustainability and related city technology projects and programs in both developing and developed countries. Drawn from representatives of private, public and volunteer sector, the jury has above their great knowledge an inspiring enthusiasm in their belief that we can build better and more sustainable cities based on better knowledge of the accomplishments of outstanding solutions and project teams around the world.

The Stockholm Partnerships International Jury (Links):

Ghazal Badiozamani, Iran/USA
Jose Felix Basozabal, Spain
Boris Berenfeld, Russia/USA
Donald Brackenbush, USA
Carlos Braga, Brazil, World Bank
Eric Britton (France/USA, Chairman)
David Greenstein, USA
Kurt Hoffman, UK, Shell Foundation
Peter Johnston, UK/European Commission)
Wendell Mottley, Trinidad & Tobago
Michele Schmidt, Sweden
Saira Shameem, Malaysia/UNDP
Tony Verelst, Belgium, ISdAC
Peter Wiederkehr, Switzerland/OECD
Nicholas You, China, Habitat
Sue Zielinski, Canada/USA

 The Jury Process

The selection process is taking place in three main stages: first, the initial screening project to accredit the nominated projects; them; the selection of the projects and teams to be invited to Stockholm for the June 2002 Events; and then, the nomination of a handful of “pattern break” projects for special recognition awards. The jurors are basing their evaluation on the information that the projects have submitted entering the Stockholm Partnerships competition, and from the impressions they get from the projects’ individual web sites.

For the second-stage screening, the jurors are organized into six small self-organized teams. Each panel is asked to review a selection of approximately forty entries in a first round screen, placing them in some sort of order of preference with reference to the criteria which are set out in the Entry Guidelines. Every submitted project is independently screened by at least three of the jury in its first screen, as well as receiving additional attention in the latter stages.

Capping and taking into account the first round of recommendations, the jury chair then configures the leading recommendations into a first round “draft bouquet” of fifty most mentioned projects, which is then resubmitted to the jury members for a next stage of reflection and organizing. At this point, each juror is invited to go to the group draft bouquet and remove from 5 to 15 of the projects and replace them, if appropriate, with a like number of other projects, taken from anywhere in the entire selection of 228 accredited nominees. This provides us with a second round of rethought, fully personalized bouquets, which are then turned over to the chair who is asked to take into account the global recommendations of the jurors to reach as close as possible to a consensus final bouquet.

When the group assessments have been completed, the overall results are then cross-tabulated and discussed and decided by the jury working in a plenary e-mode. It has been through this collegial process of review, discussion and interaction that the final “bouquet” of the sixty invited “Ambassador” projects emerged.

The projects selected as Ambassadors were notified of their selection in the first week of March, at which time they were asked if they will be willing to come to Stockholm for the June events and represent their project in the Exposition and Conference, and to discuss them with the media, other invited project teams and the general public.

The third and last stage has been one of a Dialogue between the jury and the Ambassador project teams. In a number of cases, the jury asked short-listed projects for a brief response to a certain number of specific questions, including about such things as clarification of the partnerships component of their project, the potential for replicability of the short-listed projects and the eventual willingness of the city team to share information and lend a hand to other cities who may be interested to build on their experience. The results of this Dialogue will be announced in the Award Ceremony in the great Blue Hall of Stockholm on 8 June 2002.

The Virtual Jury

The 2002 Stockholm Partnerships jury has chosen to organize itself and to work on the principle of “100% virtuality”, meaning that all communications and deliberations are being handled entirely by electronic means with no physical travel involved. The jury has elected to do this for several reasons, including not least because judged in environment impact terms this is the most sustainable way to handle these duties. No less important, however, the leading edge use of Information Society Technology in this way also is effective on both costs and efficiency grounds.

The core technology used to mediate this work is of course the Internet, together with a number of associated e-tools, some of which well known, others less so. Of these perhaps the most interesting is an aggressive extension of IP videoconferencing, which is being put into the hands of all judges by a supporting team so that they can work together with great efficiency and at low cost, despite the great distances that separate them from each other.

Two external partners have joined forces to make this possible. The task of basic system design and then hands-on support of the jury members has been handled by a volunteer team at nGroups.com, while the core videoconferencing units have been generously offered by Polycom.com. At the time of the June Award Ceremony, the jury will present their own report on the environmental and other impacts of their chosen manner of participating in the global move to sustainability. Think of it perhaps as, “leading by example”.

What kind of jury?

As we got into the process of gathering together the distinguished members of our jury, several interesting patterns began to take shape, some of which rather surprising and not entirely without interest in our present context here.

The first had to do with the matter of nationalities. Now as is often is the case in this sort of thing, our original intention had been to identify each of the jurors by their nationality. And while this may have been a simple enough thing to do a few decades ago, here in 2002 it has in our case proved so devilishly difficult that we eventually had to abandon this as a simply outmoded concept. What do you call someone who spent their early childhood in Hungary, school years in America, and then lives most of their life in Europe? Or someone born and spending more than half of his life in Russia, who now lives in Boston, speaks Russian at home and works internationally? Or another perhaps Chinese, but who sounds very much like an American but lives in Kenya and works quite literally all over the world? Or even, for that fact, an American who has lived more than half his life in France? So you will, dear visitor, understand why we had rather quickly to drop that practice in Stockholm Partnerships 2002.

Another interesting sidelight that became clear as we got to know the jurors is that the usual distinction between a career or competence in the public or private sector, at their level of accomplishment and skill at least, turns out to be almost equally without meaning. One day, the juror is working as an investment banker, and a few years later is Minister of Housing. While another spends some years running a leading international think-tank, and then becomes an innovating mayor of a city of seven million. Once again, those old barriers are clearly breaking down.

And finally, we can observe the considerable migration in terms of the move away from the areas in which they were formally educated. Few of the members of the jury are today working in the areas in which they were formally trained, even at the doctoral levels. PhD. biophysicists working to teach kids how to learn through Internet. Conservatory trained concert pianists who end up writing major national environmental laws. Graduate engineers who earn their living as bankers and backers of environmental new towns.

The point is this. Our jury is not only hugely well qualified for the challenging tasks before them, but also are in many ways a mirror of the world in which we live — and perhaps too a foretaste of what we need to become if we are ever going to make a world that is more sustainable for our children and their children after them. Competence, diversity, responsibility, generosity, flexibility, energy, leadership, and . . . staying power. It’s that kind of jury. Sustainable, you see.

 

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About the editor: 

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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