De Blasio Kicks Off World Cities Summit Forum

NEW YORK (AP) -

With much of the world’s population and its poverty shifting to cities, leaders of urban centers are at the forefront of battling inequality and creating sustainability, attendees at a global mayors conference argued on Tuesday.

The World Cities Summit Mayors Forum came to New York for the first time, granting Mayor Bill de Blasio a giant stage to outline his liberal vision for a 21st-century city, one that he says must not forget about those at society’s margins and is increasingly without help from national governments.

“We innovate and we create because we must,” de Blasio said in his opening remarks. “We see too many times when national governments look away rather than taking them on directly.”

In such an environment, de Blasio continued, mayors become even more important.

“We become the bright shining lights,” he said.

The roster of cities represented at the three-day conference, hosted at a Manhattan hotel, spanned the globe, ranging from Singapore to Petra to Pittsburgh. Attendees will participate in workshops and lectures and trade ideas and best practices to combat urban problems, organizers said.