Conference draws national leaders to “innovative urban Kansas City”

Participants from more than 70 cities began arriving this weekend at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. That’s where the first U.S. Summit on the New American City will be held Monday and Tuesday. Organizers call Kansas City a great example of the type of cities that will become the “laboratories of the technologies and partnerships that will reinvigorate the American economy.”

Today and tomorrow, urban and technology experts from 73 cities will gather at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Participants in the Summit on the New American City include mayors, business leaders and innovative thinkers.

According to the founders of summit, cities like Kansas City will be the driving force in rebuilding the American economy.

“The economic crisis has left its mark on the nation’s urban areas. So, too, have decades of infrastructure neglect, poor planning, fiscal downloading and the neglect of communities. But U.S. cities are also emerging as powerful catalysts for recovery. Cities are the nation’s principal source of innovation. They are the laboratories of the technologies and partnerships that will help re-invigorate the American economy,” according to the CityAge.

And, the CityAge founders say, Kansas City is the perfect venue for this discussion.

“Nowhere is that fact more apparent than in Kansas City. Located in the heart of the country, with a population that matches the national demographic, it is an iconic and representative American city. And its innovative policies and partnerships with banks, foundations and citizens are renewing its urban core, attracting people downtown again and rebuilding neighborhoods. And Kansas City is investing in the arts and in sport to ensure its cultural institutions will be a foundation of this urban renaissance,” the website says.

Kevin Collision writes in the Kansas City Star that CityAge founders Miro Cernetig and Marc Andrew saw Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Google vice president Milo Medin at a CityAge conference in Vancouver, and the two were popular speakers. They discussed the Google Fiber experience in Kansas City, the potential for business startups under the ultra high-speed network, and the digital divide.

Meantime, over at Forbes vice president of Innovation and Networks at the Kauffman Foundation Lesa Mitchell brags on Kansas City’s role in the Summit on the New American City.

She lists a number of reasons why Kansas City is increasingly being recognized “more for business than barbecue.”

To follow the Summit on Twitter will use the hashtag #CityAgeKC, or follow  @CityAge and Mayor James @MayorSlyJames.

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