Program Details

What is this program about?

From 2019 to 2021, Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow: Digitalization and the Future of Work will engage 88 thought-leaders and practitioners from 12 cities in six U.S. states and 12 cities in eight German Länder, giving them valuable tools, approaches, and strategies to make a successful and effective transition to a digital economy in their local communities. In order to enhance both the substantive impact and the longer-term sustainability of the Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow: Digitalization and the Future of Work network, the program will not be structured as multi-city study tours, but rather leaders from cities in each country will be paired with one another so that they may focus more in-depth on a single community in the other country and build deeper relationships with their professional counterparts.

The initiative will consist of four rounds of reciprocal exchanges, virtual components prior to, during, and following the trips, as well as a final conference to include all the participants and other actors involved in the implementation of the initiative. A key element of the project is the ACG’s intent to provide the participants with an opportunity for the practical – and immediate – exchange of ideas, best practices, and policy recommendations relevant to their cities and regions. The selected participants should share insights regarding their local circumstances, enabling them to work with their counterparts in other cities to define strategies and develop specific, hands-on approaches that could be potentially implemented in their cities and regions over the next five years.

What cities will be involved?

The following cities and states will take part in Transatlantic Cities of Tomorrow: Digitalization and the Future of Work:

Selection of these cities was based on a variety of factors including:

  • Geographic, political, and cultural diversity in both countries;
  • Cities that have confronted structural change in the last 20 years, are at differing levels implementing necessary reforms and have embraced (or not embraced) the potential opportunities this change brings;
  • Cities at varying levels of digitalization as it pertains to the issues addressed in this project; and
  • Sectoral diversity in terms of local and regional economies.

What will take place during the reciprocal exchanges?

Each of the four exchange rounds will consist of:

  • The selection of three participants from each of the three cities in both countries. Additionally, one state-level representative from each of the states in both countries will be chosen such that each round will consist of 22 participants.
  • Prior to travel, preparatory briefings will be held consisting of online webinars and conference calls via telephone or video with American and German experts on the topics being examined during the project.
  • The German participants will travel first to the United States, engaging in a day of briefings (together with the American participants) at the state-level, and then each city pairing will visit their U.S. partner city for four days of programming with their American counterparts (for instance, 3 participants from Leipzig will visit Nashville).
  • Approximately 2 months later, the American participants will travel to Germany, with parallel programming, which will include one day focusing on state policies and four days with their German counterparts in their cities.
  • During the 2 months between the trips, the city groups will participate in online working groups reflecting on lessons learned and identifying areas for further exploration on the second trip.
  • Additionally, participants in each city will be asked to establish a local community task force of 10-12 key influencers, holding 4-6 sessions (prior to, between, and upon conclusion of the trips) to engage a broader set of stakeholders in their communities, both sharing insights and gathering input for additional examination during the project.
  • Upon completion of each round, the groups from paired cities will draft action plans identifying recommendations for each of their respective communities and will hold additional information sessions with the task force in their communities to share with key stakeholders in their cities. Participants will also submit individual reports on their experiences that will be shared with the networks of the American Council on Germany and the Advisory Council members.