Global Partnership for Better Cities Conference

The Global Partnership for Better Cities conference will be held in Atlanta on Georgia State University’s downtown campus from March 27 – March 29, 2016.

Through the Global Partnership for Better Cities, faculty researchers from six urban universities* will convene in Atlanta to:

  • Identify strategies to move toward viable and sustainable comparative research projects, including identifying and obtaining funding to maintain these linkages and studies into the future. We are inviting program officers from key U.S. federal research agencies and internationally-focused foundations to inform us about their relevant interests and programs.
  • Focus on their research interests and develop their joint research projects and relationships;
  • Better understand Atlanta as a major urban city in the United States, vis-à-vis its history, development, infrastructure, demographics, and challenges.

*The Global Partnership for Better Cities includes faculty researchers from Georgia State University, Hong Kong Baptist University, City University of Hong Kong, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, and University of Western Cape.

As host of this inaugural conference, Georgia State University will cover conference attendees’:

  • Conference registration
  • Accommodation at nearby Marriott Residence Inn
  • Breakfast (at hotel), conference lunches, and group dinners
  • Transportation for “Understanding Atlanta” tour

Conference attendees (or their home institutions) will be responsible for air transportation to/from Atlanta, as well as personal expenses while at the conference.

Please click here for a downloadable PDF version of the GPBC Conference Booklet.  A descriptive conference schedule is available here. Please note that Georgia State reserves the right to make adjustments to the schedule; those changes will be reflected online.

Sunday, March 27

1:30pm – 3:30pm: Pre-Conference Atlanta Beltline Walking Tour

The Atlanta Beltline is an ambitious public-private partnership to transform old railroad tracks that encircle downtown Atlanta and near-in residential neighborhoods into 22 miles of continuous, open, public green space with parks, transit, and economic development projects.  The Beltline, similar but larger than New York City’s High Line and a Chicago plan to convert an unused raised railroad into trails and parks, is estimated to cost more than $3 billion by 2030 and will pass through 45 different neighborhoods.

We will take a Sunday afternoon walk along the 2.2 mile east side of the Beltline from Piedmont Park, with speculator views of downtown and Midtown Atlanta, along a broad, paved path for bikers, joggers and walkers, past public art installations, restaurants, small shops, apartments in converted buildings, and newly constructed affordable housing. Our destination will be the Krog Street Market, an old warehouse that now houses market stalls selling produce, goods, and prepared food.  The entire excursion will take about two hours, including transport to and from the Beltline and time to roam the market.

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Conference Kick-off Reception

Held at Georgia State’s CURVE: Collaborative University Research & Visualization Environment, CURVE is a technology-rich discovery space supporting the research and digital scholarship of Georgia State University students, faculty, and staff.  Located at the heart of the Georgia State campus within the University Library, CURVE’s mission is to enhance research and visualizations by providing technology and services that promote interdisciplinary engagement, collaborative investigation, and innovative inquiry.  interactWall – a touch enabled 24-foot-wide visualization wall;  Collaborative PC Workstations – equipped with large displays, collaborative workspace accommodating up to 6 people, Collaborative Mac Pro Workstations – equipped with large displays, collaborative workspace accommodating up to 6 people, 84 inch 4K Resolution Workstation – a touch enabled, ultra-high resolution workstation; 3D Scanners. Scanners.

7:00pm – 9:00pm: Conference Dinner feat. Keynote Speaker

Keynote speaker will be Mr. Errol Barnett, anchor and correspondent for CNN International, based in Atlanta.

Monday, March 28

9:00am – 10:15am: Welcome and Research Group Initial Meetings

10:15am – 10:30am: Break

10:30am – 12:00pm: Research Group Presentations on Projects/Interests (20-30 min each)

12:00pm – 1:30pm: Conference Lunch, including a brief presentation on the developmental history of Atlanta

Prof. Tim Crimmins, Emeritus Professor & Director of the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies, will share a brief but detailed look at the history of one of the Southeast’s major cities.

1:30pm – 3:00pm: Research Group Presentations on Projects/Interests Continued (20-30 min each)

3:00pm – 3:15pm: Break

3:15pm – 4:15pm: Large Group Discussion: Issues in Facilitating and Funding Cross-Cultural Research and Educational Opportunities

4:15pm – 5:30pm:  Return to hotel

5:30pm – 7:30pm:  Dinner & Networking Reception, hosted by Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Tuesday, March 29

9:00am – 2:00pm: Project Breakout Working Groups, including Lunch

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Break/Depart for City Tour

3:00pm – 8:00pm:  “Understanding Atlanta” City Tour, followed by dinner, group presentations, and closing remarks

This tour will focus on the new immigrant suburban neighborhoods in Atlanta. The 2010 US Census estimated that Atlanta had a population of over 5 million people in its 28-county metropolitan area.  White Americans make up 55% of the metro population and Black American, the largest racial minority, an additional 32%.  There were more than 550,000 Hispanics or Latinos of any race and 397,000 Asian only and Pacific Islander only (179,000 Asian Indians, 94,000 Koreans, 68,000 Chinese, and 56,000 Vietnamese).  Out of the top 100 US metropolitan areas, Atlanta has the 11th highest ratio of foreign-born living in suburbs and not in the core city.

Atlanta does not have single centers of ethnic groups such as Koreatown or Chinatown, but the Buford Highway Corridor in Dekalb County and parts of Gwinnett County are commercial and residential centers for multiple ethnic communities. Clarkston in DeKalb County and Duluth in Gwinnett County are the most ethnically- and racially-diverse cities in the Atlanta metropolitan area.  We will visit one or two refugee resettlement apartment complexes, an after-school program class for youth, and a bustling pan-Asian shopping strip mall in Duluth.  During dinner, we will view a short documentary film tracing the history of residential changes in Clarkston – the “demographic and cultural picture of the U.S. in near future” – and have a short discussion with a few community leaders.

Research groups will present their deliverables and agenda for the coming year. The conference will close with a group discussion on future conference sites/dates, organizational needs, sustainability, among others. All attendees are encouraged to attend and to offer feedback.