Interviews with thought leaders

Erik Brynjolfsson

Erik Brynjolfsson

Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business

In 2003, Business Week declared: “If e-business had an oracle, Erik Brynjolfsson would be the anointed.” Since then, he has sealed his reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on the economic effects of technological innovation. He is the co-author with Andrew McAfee of a new book, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. Here, he shares his vision of the future and discusses how cities can ride this wave of technological change.

Download complete transcript of this interview

Ulla Hamilton

Ulla Hamilton

Deputy Mayor, Stockholm, Sweden

Ulla Hamilton has played a leading role in some of the city’s greatest successes, including development of Stockholm’s broadband network, auto congestion pricing plan and sustainable housing. Here she discusses those and other efforts to keep the city growing and healthy.

Download complete transcript of this interview

Steven Koonin

Steven Koonin

Founding director of NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)

Steven Koonin served as under-secretary for science at the US Department of Energy from May 2009 through November 2011, overseeing technical activities across the department’s science, energy, and security activities. Before joining the government, Koonin spent five years as chief scientist for BP p.l.c. and was professor of theoretical physics at California Institute of Technology from 1975–2006. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the JASON advisory group.

Download complete transcript of this interview

Suketu Mehta

Suketu Mehta

Author, Maximum City: Bombay lost and found

Suketu Mehta was born in Calcutta and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), and now lives in Manhattan and teaches at New York University. He has also lived in London and Paris. His prize-winning book, Maximum City:Bombay Lost and Found, was hailed by Salman Rushdie as “the best book yet written about that great, ruined metropolis.” Mehta, now working on a book about New York, once wrote: “I live in cities by choice, and I’m pretty sure I will die in a city.” Here, he discusses why humans are so powerfully drawn to cities, and what makes a city great.

Download complete transcript of this interview

Erik Brynjolfsson

Wang Lin

Director, Shanghai Planning and Land Resources Administration Bureau

Wang Lin is Director of the historic conservation department in Shanghai’s Planning and Land Resources Administration Bureau and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. She has been one of the driving forces in the city’s master planning and redevelopment for 15 years.

Ron van Oers

Vice Director, World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific

Ron van Oers served for 10 years coordinating UNESCO’s World Heritage Cities Program in Paris before assuming his current role as vice director of the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific based in Shanghai. With Wang Lin, they combine insight into Shanghai’s evolution with a wide perspective on the world’s great cities.

Download complete transcript of this interview

Miguel Zugaza

Miguel Zugaza

Director, Prado Museum

Since 2002, Miguel Zuzaga has overseen the reinvigoration of one of the world’s greatest museums with collections spanning Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Bosch, Bruegel and Dürer. Attendance has risen by a million annually during Zugaza’s tenure—despite the economic crisis—including many more visitors from the Madrid area. Here, Zugaza discusses a museum’s responsibility to the public and its multi-faceted contribution to the city. He also tells how, in the face of drastic funding cutbacks, the Prado is continuing research and conservation and still expanding services and public access.

Download complete transcript of this interview