On October 20, Next Century Cities officially launched in Santa Monica, CA. The launch event brought together elected officials and other leaders from 27 of Next Century Cities’ 32 partner communities.
Hosted at the innovative co-working space Cross Campus, the initiative’s launch event began with introductory remarks from Executive Director Deb Socia, and a video from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. Featured remarks were delivered by Mayor Pam O’Connor of Santa Monica, Mayor Joey Durel of Lafayette, LA, and Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, TN.
Following the featured remarks, a panel moderated by Professor Susan Crawford of Harvard Law School featured Mayors O’Connor, Durel, and Berke, as well as Mayor Dana Kirkham of Ammon, ID, as they discussed their experiences in working to improve broadband Internet access in their communities. Two presentations followed to illustrate the concrete benefits of broadband Internet, given by Mayor Jill Boudreau of Mount Vernon, WA, and Will Aycock of Wilson, NC.
The event concluded with a panel of city innovation officials moderated by Next Century Cities Policy Director Chris Mitchell. Panelists Jascha Franklin-Hodge of Boston, MA, Ashley Hand of Kansas City, MO, Gail Roper of Raleigh, NC, Jory Wolf of Santa Monica, CA, Terry Huval of Lafayette, LA, and Mary Beth Henry of Portland, OR shared lessons from their communities’ broadband initiatives.