Bedrock and the World Economic Forum announced yesterday that a new global Centre for Urban Transformation headquarters is coming to Detroit. It will launch here in October with a series of events and will initially set up in a Bedrock property. In the future, it will be located in the "Innovation District" planned for the Gratiot/former jail site.
The site has gone through a variety of planned iterations, including a soccer stadium, residential, a jail (of course), and Stephen Ross's UofM Detroit Center of Innovation. When Ross pulled out of that site last month, Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner said the site would become an Innovation District, although most of the plans for this are still unclear.
A press release describes the Centre as seeking to "increase public-private collaboration in cities and advance more inclusive and sustainable models for urban development."
“Around the globe, cities are facing unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 to climate change, exposing deep systemic inequities,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum. “As we chart a course towards a more sustainable and equitable future, government cannot carry this burden alone; increased public-private cooperation is essential. Detroit is uniquely positioned to serve as the epicenter for this work – a hub for urban transformation and innovation that the world can look to for guidance and inspiration.”
Crain's reports that Merritt's relationship with Bonner is another reason they chose Detroit.
The World Economic Forum has offices all over the world, including Beijing, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
“Bedrock is excited to bring the World Economic Forum and its global platform to Detroit,” said Bonner. “This partnership provides an opportunity to showcase Detroit’s extraordinary growth and positions Michigan’s largest city and international border as a global hub for best-in-class thinking on developing a next-generation, inclusive urban economy.”