Message from the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller
The New Now – What does the present mean for the future? What lessons do we need to learn from the here and now in order to hit the ground running after the pandemic? What role will metropolises play in this process? And why are we asking this question in Berlin?
One thing is certain: around the globe, for more than a year now, we have seen the coronavirus turn our world upside down. All spheres and all facets of the urban life we knew are under siege. As though it were a magnifying glass, the pandemic is bringing not only ordinary challenges into sharp focus, but society’s big questions as well. That’s because the pandemic struck in the midst of what were already sweeping changes – digital transformation, urbanization, and climate change – and their corollary impact on social justice, democracy, and freedom. These are all issues that still have special urgency in these pandemic times.
The effects of the pandemic have been especially profound in cities and metropolises, which is also where the processes of structural change have their greatest impact. At the same time, however, thanks to the concentrated potential and opportunities inherent in cities and metropolises, here is where we are most likely to find the solutions we need to meet these challenges. More than almost any other city, Berlin in particular stands for the idea that freedom and democracy, as well as innovation and progress, can be fought for and won by one’s own efforts, again and again. And countless examples show us that the heart of the future beats in the world’s metropolises.
Consequently, I would like to bring you, the decision-makers, city shapers, and thought leaders of international metropolises, together in our knowledge capital Berlin to discuss the most pressing questions of our time. We will gather in some of our city’s most intriguing locations, where today’s visionaries are imagining tomorrow, to collect our experiences and ideas. Let us enter into a free, open, and trusting dialogue, so that together we can leave the New Now for a successful new future. I’m looking forward to seeing you.
Governing Mayor of Berlin
Photo: Lena Giovanazzi