Future of Democracy Speaker Series Goes International with Addition of The GovLab Madrid and NYU Madrid Events

Yesterday, February 28, 2019, dozens of civic leaders, civil servants, and students gathered at New York University’s new building in downtown Madrid to hear leaders from Spain’s largest municipalities discuss the social and equitable challenges created by the housing market pressures in their respective cities.

The GovLab Madrid and NYU Madrid co-hosted the event, titled “The Housing Crisis in Madrid and Barcelona: How to Govern the Real Estate Market to Guarantee the Right to Housing,” which featured a conversation with Marta Higueras from the Council of Equity, Social Rights & Employment of the Madrid City Council and Javier Burón, Manager of Housing for the Barcelona City Council.

This particular lecture highlighted one of the most important challenges facing global cities like Madrid and Barcelona: housing. Hardships caused by evictions persist in Madrid and Barcelona, where rental bubbles are growing rapidly and difficulties in regulating the platform economy are prevalent. These problems, among others, contribute to the expulsion of residents from city centers. While the governments of Madrid and Barcelona have developed a large number of public housing policies to address these problems, myriad challenges still exist in the cities’ respective housing markets.

The event marked the international expansion of an ongoing series of public lectures, research workshops, projects, and publications that are part of the Future of Democracy (FoD) working group – a collaboration between The GovLab and the Institute of Public Knowledge at NYU. Like all past and upcoming FoD lectures, it was free and open to the public.

Since the working group’s launch in September, 2018, FoD has hosted a series of lectures welcoming renowned experts in the fields of digital democracy, civic engagement, innovation in government, and more. Previous guests have included César Hidalgo of MIT, Geoff Mulgan of Nesta, and Audrey Tang from the Taiwan national government.

FoD’s expansion to Spain, which follows the recent founding of The GovLab Madrid, will include a series of lectures to take place in Madrid throughout the Spring of 2019 – three additional talks are planned for the coming months, with specifics to be announced at a later date.

The next event, however, has been scheduled for Thursday, March 21st:

The Future of the Cities: A New Paradigm of Sustainable Mobility
How to prepare the cities for a more sustainable cities through local policies of mobility (With Inés Sabanés, Councilor of Environment and Mobility of the Madrid City Council Salvador Milà, Director of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona)
Thursday, March 21st at 19.00-21.00 (Spanish time)
NYU Madrid, Calle Barquillo, 13

Going forward, the Spring lectures — much like the original series — will continue to spur conversation regarding the impact of technology on democracy, citizen engagement, and the new role that Madrid and other comparable communities can play in the world as a result of technological advancements.