Date: September 2nd 2019 | Location: Düsseldorf
What is the recipe for a school in which children, who were previously often ill and restless, now learn healthy and in good shape? How do you create a neighborhood that turns a desolate place into a lively, joyful place? How can people live together peacefully and sustainably when the population density is eight times as high as in Düsseldorf?
At the "Second Summit on Living Together" to which Mayor Thomas Geisel had invited 38 city representatives from 28 countries to Düsseldorf, they exchanged answers to the challenges facing their more than 60 million inhabitants. At the end of the three-day international conference, they reported on the results at a press conference on Sunday. "This conference has clearly shown that in many places we face the same problems and can learn a lot from each other - no matter whether we come from Asian, African or Western metropolises," said Mayor Geisel.
"Living Together is a constant discussion about tolerance, partnership and inclusion - the whole day has been rich in thoughts about core values that serve as the basis of the daily work of every mayor in every part of the world. Today we must share these values, especially when many populist politicians forget the warnings of the Second World War - the greatest tragedy that occurred in Europe exactly 80 years ago," added Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Michał Olszewski.
On the second day, the delegates solemnly signed the "Düsseldorf Declaration" in the Tonhalle, with which they committed themselves to a continuous exchange of models for better coexistence, more integration and participation - and at the same time praised the "great success" of the conference as well as host Thomas Geisel.
They had previously presented many projects on these topics in the internal meetings and workshops at the Lindner Congress Hotel in a kind of learning workshop - for example Henriette Vamberg, Partner and Managing Director of the renowned Danish architecture firm Gehl Architects: "Don't plan the buildings first, plan the squares", she appealed in her lecture and presented concepts for places that can be used as meeting places in the middle of the cities.
Mayor Thomas Geisel emphasised: "I think it is important that affordable apartments are available in all parts of the city. This is not just a question of justice. I simply feel more comfortable in a district where there are also apartments that a policewoman and an educator can still afford.The second summit after Montreal in 2015 was very valuable for us," praised Armand Béouindé, Lord Mayor of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. "People flee here from the violent to the cities. This is a great challenge. At the summit we learned a lot about inclusion and living together."
"I am delighted that this conference has met with such a positive response that the delegates return to their cities with many good ideas. The network will continue to grow and intensify exchange. We already have several member cities interested in hosting the third Summit," said Magda Popeanu, Vice-Chairwoman of Montréal City Council, Canada, responsible for Culture and Diversity, on behalf of the Living Together Observatory.
At the beginning of the Düsseldorf Summit, Mayor Thomas Geisel welcomed the delegates in the City Hall and invited them to a city tour in a double-decker bus after they had registered in the city's Golden Book.The people of Düsseldorf are invited to inform themselves about the projects and impulses of the conference. An interactive exhibition with videos and sketches under the motto "Think tomorrow's city today" documents the discussions at the Living Together conference the previous day. Visitors will also be able to formulate their suggestions and wishes for the future of a big city. The exhibition can be seen from 1 to 7 September at the NRW-Forum and from 9 to 15 September at Café Europa, Marktplatz 6b.
The first Living Together conference was held in the Canadian capital Montréal in 2015. Mayors from all over the world gathered there to discuss the challenges of a constantly changing society. They founded the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together, an international network of cities that documents best practices to help improve the overall quality of life in cities worldwide through these exemplary projects. At the first Living Together conference, participants signed the Montréal Declaration to promote peaceful coexistence in cities. Düsseldorf has been a member of the Observatory since 2016 and this year is hosting the second International "Living Together" Conference on the topic of "Living together in the big city".
Prominent supporters can be found among the sponsors and partner organisations. Düsseldorf Airport and Messe Düsseldorf are the main sponsors of the conference and presented their contribution to the internationality of the city to the delegations. In addition, the Federal Foreign Office, the Strong Cities Network, Mayors for Peace, EUROCITIES and the UNESCO International Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Cities will be participating as ideal partners, as will Düsseldorf Marketing and Wirtschaftswoche as media partners. The "OECD Champion Mayors Initiative", a network of mayors led by the OECD, is also a partner of the conference.
Further information and photos of the event can also be found in our media portal at: www.duesseldorf.de/nc/medienportal.html. You will find a video on this topic on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/stadtduesseldorf during the day.