Developing a Future Vision for German and U.S. Cities


New Urban Progress is a transatlantic dialogue on how urban areas can be more innovative, democratic, and sustainable. By exchanging best practices and collaborating on bold solutions, young urban leaders from Germany and the United States are working on how to deliver social and economic progress while renewing the transatlantic partnership at the city level.


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During the past decade, democratic institutions in Europe and the United States have faced existential challenges. The climate crisis, rising inequalities and illiberal political actors all require innovative and collaborative responses. New Urban Progress is an answer to these crises based on the idea that cities are ideal actors to face these challenges and build new bridges across the Atlantic.

Through learning from one another and thinking outside of conventional policies, young urban leaders from Germany and the United States will deliver recommendations on how urban areas can solve global challenges by strengthening local democracies.


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New Urban Progress brings together 20 fellows from both sides of the Atlantic. As a group, they are strengthening transatlantic bonds between Germany and the United States with a people-oriented approach.

The fellows are organized in three working groups:

Economic growth alone is an insufficient measure of progress. As cities and metropolitan areas grow in the 2020s, they must intertwine local economies with social justice measures, green technologies, and fair labor practices. Inclusive innovation can play a central role by shifting the economy’s focus onto today’s challenges while also improving everyone’s wellbeing. This working group will look at how urban economies can bring justice to their communities and at the same time address some of the planet’s most pressing crises.
Democratizing the city involves identifying how decision-making is structured and how power is distributed. It also requires policies that increase innovative practices of citizen participation, especially from communities that have traditionally been excluded from public life. Inclusive networks between social, economic, and public sectors can help empower citizens. Most importantly, a city is able to bring democratic institutions and civic participation directly to its residents – this working group will examine how community-based approaches to urban democratic deficits can help build cities for all.
It is now clear that sustainability and social mobility are intrinsically linked. Acutely, responses to record heat and storms must protect all citizens equally. Now is also the time to invest in the future: city halls should prioritize building inclusive public infrastructure and facilitating green jobs that pay fair wages. Housing, transportation, and economic opportunities can be addressed from a green lens to deliver intergenerational justice. This working group is analyzing how cities can correct past injustices while empowering future urban communities.



New Urban Progress is a joint project between Das Progressive Zentrum and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft in Germany and the Progressive Policy Institute in the United States. It is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).