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Meet the Mayors

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We asked the mayors of the three SAIS cities a question: What are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing your city? Their answers, below, offer visions for three very different cities.

Looking to the future, the major challenge for the city of Bologna will be to live up to our past, which means implementing overdue reforms. It is imperative that Bologna emerge from the current economic crisis with the status and reputation it deserves, both in Italy and worldwide. This is an opportune moment for the city to flourish with a new strategic plan and the ‘metropolitan city,’ a new Italian administrative division that begins January 1, 2014. Our strategic plan is currently under way and will make it possible for us to adopt vital projects for the city’s development over the next 10 to 15 years. It is a new model for Bologna that will not only help the city grow but also will renew its reputation as an example of excellence internationally in terms of work conditions, manufacturing, culture, creativity, quality of life and social welfare. With the metropolitan city, we will be able to create unique local services and build economies of scale that will streamline the increasingly limited resources available to us. In concrete terms, it means managing a vast area in an integrated way to improve the lives of nearly a million people. This is our future, and we must work toward it.

—Virginio Merola
Mayor of Bologna

In some ways, the greatest challenges and greatest opportunities that will face the District of Columbia in the future are similar to those that face other great world cities: managing rapid demographic and economic growth while maintaining diversity and affordable housing; considering environmental and social sustainability; protecting public safety; maintaining and improving our infrastructure; and enhancing educational and social outcomes for all of our residents. But Washington also has challenges unique to being the capital of the United States, such as diversifying our economy so it isn’t as dependent on the federal government in age of budget cutting; gaining more autonomy from congressional oversight when it comes to managing our own budget and affairs; and dealing with the security concerns inherent in hosting the seat of the nation’s government and elected leaders.

—Vincent Gray
Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Coping with a global economic crisis has provided Chinese cities with new opportunities for development. As the capital of Jiangsu Province, which has one of the most-developed­ economies in China, Nanjing is promoting economic, urban and social restructuring by utilizing its advantages in science, technology and education, along with its advanced talent pool, industrial base and status as a major transportation hub. Restructuring means addressing challenges. Many cities around the world are beset by problems related to the environment, energy, transportation and other factors. Nanjing is no exception. But we are confident that Nanjing has a bright future and is strong enough to achieve it.

—Ji Jianye
Mayor of Nanjing

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