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NYC partners with European leaders in search for big ideas to keep us social

New York City has joined forces with leading European capitals to find new ways to put the art back into the Big Apple.

Along with Berlin, London, and Paris, and with backing from Bloomberg Associates, Nitrous, and Microsoft, they have formed the Global Innovation Collaborative.

Calling it “a partnership to reignite and strengthen businesses as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” the challenge is a call to small and medium sized tech firms to put forward their ideas for solving some of the unique challenges the COVID pandemic created.

From ways to reimagine public gatherings, like music festivals or greenmarkets, to creating new systems that might keep tourism alive, the challenge, says Council Member Paul Vallone, is to make sure creative individuals, industries and activities can be connected, made financially sustainable, and thrive as a critical part of each cities’ cultural landscape.

Vallone, who is chairman of the city’s Committee on Economic Development, said, “The Creative Cities Challenge… would bring the city beyond just recovery and move into truly new and innovative ways to ensure New York remains on the leading edge of performance, the arts, and nightlife.

“Programs like these, in partnership with other world leading cities, strengthen our position as one of the premiere places on earth for creativity to flourish with a focus on true equity.”  

In New York, the competition to revolutionize public services and engage citizens and artists is being led by the Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).


“New York City is home to some of the world’s most iconic arts institutions. Supporting our cultural and creative sectors is essential to restoring jobs and reopening our businesses,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “We are proud to join the Global Innovation Collaborative to work with our partner cities and launch the Creative Cities Challenge. We look forward to bringing the creative industry back to life.”

The Creative Cities Challenge seeks proposals to pilot innovative solutions from technologists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, data scientists, researchers, designers, architects and creatives from across the globe. Once selected, these solutions will support the growth of creative production, prioritize the ongoing safety of creative consumers and producers, while centering equity, inclusion and accessibility in the rebuilding of the industry. 

“As the agency charged with supporting New York City’s creative economy, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment continues to work with our arts and entertainment sectors to help them survive the pandemic and return stronger than ever,” said NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “The Creative Cities Challenge will reinforce our efforts to advance an equitable recovery of our creative economy.”  

“The Office of Nightlife at MOME is grateful to participate with the Creative Cities Challenge in this global effort to find innovative solutions to help support the recovery of nightlife and performance venues around the world,” said the Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife Ariel Palitz.

“We are thrilled that NYC is partnering with Berlin, London, and Paris to surface innovative solutions to challenges faced by the creative sectors during the pandemic,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “Our cultural institutions are globally celebrated and the backbone to our tourism industry; it is imperative that we support them as New York City reopens and recovers.”

Prior to COVID-19, the cultural sector in NYC was one of the largest industries in NYC, employing nearly 400,000 workers, paying them $31 billion in wages, and generating $110 billion in economic activity.

The COVID pandemic forced 95 percent of organizations to cancel programs, and employment in the industry dropped by 60 percent. Some 89,000 jobs in the tourism industry, a vital component of New York City’s economy, were also lost.

New York passed ‘Open Culture’ regulations to help bring cultural and artistic events back as part of an overarching effort to make communities stronger, create jobs and rebuild the city’s reputation as one of the most dynamic, diverse and creative cities in the world.

The EDC believes the Global Innovation Challenge will give them new tools to take the revival to the next level – and their European counterparts agree.


“Berlin’s economy is inconceivable without its culture,” said Dr. Stefan Franzke, CEO, Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. “This is another reason why the Global Innovation Collaborative is sending the right signals: Together we are stronger. Jointly with our friends in London, New York and Paris, including also Kulturprojekte Berlin and visitBerlin, we are looking for innovative ideas for the unique creative landscape of our capital. Culture belongs to Berlin like the Brandenburg Gate and the television tower. I am grateful that we tackle these challenges together with our partner cities and I am sure that something good will come of it. The way out of the pandemic is not a ‘back to square one’: We want to be better, happier, more colorful and more creative than before.”

“London is home to some of the world’s most dynamic innovators and entrepreneurs,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “Through this exciting new partnership with other world cities I’m confident we will be able to harness their creativity and help those sectors hardest hit by the pandemic – such as arts and culture – adapt and thrive as we emerge from lockdown and into our economic recovery.”

“Culture and creation have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. As we see hope returning and Paris reviving, it is time to get back on track in both of these key sectors,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “To this end, Paris has joined Berlin, London and New York in the Global Innovation Collaborative project, alongside Bloomberg Associates, to ensure the rich success. This international creative challenge, open to innovation players from all over the world, will be a unique opportunity to share our ideas and think about the future of the cultural and creative sectors that are essential to the prestige of our cities.”

Details and submission information can be found here.

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