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This installment of IDEAS CITY is devoted to the exploration of Untapped Capital. The mayors on this panel have interpreted Untapped Capital in their own, individual ways. For some cities, Untapped Capital might be neighborhoods; for others, the arts. Governmental efficiency and green power offer reserves of Untapped Capital, while “downtown” revitalization and transit expansion may have proven less stable resources. How does a city’s history become Untapped Capital and how deeply is a city’s identity tied to its resilience? The mayors will cite specific examples of their utilization of Untapped Capital from their tenures while also considering the context of their cities within a larger national and international framework.
Manuel (Manny) Diaz served as Mayor of Miami from 2001–09. During his tenure, Diaz re-engineered the city’s government and developed the vision of Miami as an international city. His innovative programs included such areas as urban design, sustainability, and infrastructure investment. He was a Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and is author of the upcoming book Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time.
Former CEO for Yves Saint Laurent and Director of Strategy for LVMH, Christophe Girard
served as Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Culture from 2001 until 2012. During his term, he created such memorable initiatives as the annual “Nuit Blanche” celebration. In 2012, Girard became Mayor of the 4th District of Paris. He is a member of the French Socialist party, an author, an advocate for gay parenting, and a wine producer.
Current Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky and former CEO of one of the nation’s top ten builders of manufacturing facilities, Jim Gray brings a business paradigm to city government. Tackling budget deficits of $35 million, Gray has instituted tough cuts and innovative solutions. He is also redefining downtown Lexington as an arts and cultural district, and established a partnership with the Mayor of Louisville to create a manufacturing and technology super region.
As Mayor of Nashville (1999–2007), Bill Purcell oversaw the city’s unprecedented economic expansion. During his tenure, Nashville was ranked the number one city for corporate headquarters and twice ranked as the hottest city in America for expansion and business relocation. Purcell has had a long relationship with Harvard University including a stint as Director of the Institute of Politics.
Elected as Austin’s fiftieth mayor in 2003, Will Wynn served two terms. With an
academic background in Environmental Design, Wynn’s climate protection plan for Austin is one of the country’s most aggressive for reducing greenhouse gases. In addition to a successful plan for transformative change in downtown Austin, Wynn also nurtured the city’s creative community with the Keep Austin Weird initiative.
Moderator: Kurt Andersen
Host of public radio’s Peabody Award–winning Studio 360, Kurt Andersen is also cofounder and editor of Spy magazine. He is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair, the New York Times, New York, and Time, and has authored three novels, the most recent being True Believers (2012).