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GLOBAL GOALS S02E02: Re-Imagining Governance

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In episode 2, we focus on re-inventing governance for urban ecosystems of the 21st century through the cities of Rotterdam and Mumbai.

Bas Boorsma speaks about our undergoing a transition - from the hollowing out of the middle class to a complex digital transformation that is creating new employment opportunities, and eliminating old ones. The transition is also about actively engaging, preparing and motivating citizens from diverse backgrounds.

We discuss what types of structures and policies enable regeneration and inclusivity. Streamlining and collaboration within government are needed, but so is partnership with broader society. Power should be devolved as close as possible to city residents, as long as it comes with the capacity and funding for it to be effective. Even where power is fractured across different levels of government, as is the case of Mumbai, democratic legitimacy should come through a bottom-up citizen participatory approach commingled with more traditional top-down instruments. Design-led technology can contribute to this.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made government - and the middle classes - realise “the city works on the shoulders of migrants”, to quote Dr Anita Patil-Deshmukh. Shocks such as this may impact policy. More generally, though, we must be more nimble. While self-governance has a role, start-ups and scale-ups on the ground hold important insights. Regulators can support innovators while protecting what is best and fairest for society at large. “Agile is one of those magic ingredients for preparing our cities for our next phase of transition and success,” says Bas.

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Author of A Circular Economy Handbook, Consultant and Host of the Circular Economy Podcast Catherine Weetman is an international speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, consultant and host of the Circular Economy Podcast. She founded Rethink Solutions to help businesses, social enterprises and community groups to use circular economy approaches to build a better world. Catherine's award-winning book, A Circular Economy Handbook, explains the what, why and how of the circular economy. The second edition, due out in November 2020, includes a new chapter on packaging, over 100 new examples, and many more updates. Catherine qualified as an Industrial Engineer and began her career in garment manufacturing, before moving onto logistics solution design, project management, business intelligence and supply chain consulting, including senior roles with Tesco, Kellogg's and DHL Supply Chain. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport,  a Fellow of The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), a university lecturer and has a Master's Degree from Cranfield University. She supports the Circular Economy Club as a mentor and Chapter lead for the Tees Valley, in the UK.


Executive Director,


Dr Anita Patil-Deshmukh is the executive director of PUKAR, based in Mumbai. A former Harvard Master’s Graduate in Public Health, she spent the first parts of her career as a faculty neonatologist in Chicago. She relocated to India in 2005 to focus on her research interests in urban poverty, social determinants of health and urban knowledge production through the lens of marginalized youth. She has built successful collaborations with major global academic institutions including Harvard, Columbia, University of Chicago Berkeley and Max Planck Institute Germany. In July 2020 she was invited by the UN Foundation to speak on the digital divide as a part of her.

Founder and Creative Director, Biomimicry Innovation Lab  Richard loves to explore fresh ideas and concepts and is ever curious about the environment around him. He is an award-winning designer and has worked worldwide in cities, manufacturing, food systems and product design. Richard’s passion is to develop innovation models to reduce costs and improve efficiency and resilience in the design and manufacturing process. He taught at some of the top design schools in the world: from The Royal College of Art (UK); The Pratt Institute (USA); Vellore Institute of Technology (India); and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary). Richard is also the founder of the non-profit Biomimicry UK, an equine technology startup, Smart Stable Limited, whilst sitting on several advisory boards. He combines design work with research development via the Design Society and the ISO Standards in Biomimetics.


Chief Digital Officer

City of Rotterdam

Bas is a leading urban innovation and digitalization specialist & executive with 20 years of experience in the 'smart city' space. As per August 1, 2021, Bas serves as the (external) CDO to the City of Rotterdam. In this capacity Bas is lead orchestrator, facilitator and ambassador to the city and its innovation ecosystem. Bas also serves as Professor of Practice at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He also serves as Member of the Board, at the Smart City Association Italy (TSCAI). Bas is the author of the well acclaimed book "A New Digital Deal.


For this episode we will be supporting SINA by donating £100 for Every 100 Listeners which will allow :

  • One young urban refugee in Uganda supported to join SINA for 6 months to unleash his/her potential

Marginalized youth and refugees lack opportunities to create a dignified life and are expected to remain in poverty. Social Innovation Academies in East Africa are transforming the educational system and allowing marginalized communities to create their own solutions and social enterprises tackling root causes of social problems.


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