Cities Summit

March 12-13 • The Cities Summit at SXSW is an opportunity for civic leaders, creative citizens, and urbanists of all disciplines to learn, strategize, and form partnerships to create more equitable, resilient, and livable cities.

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Cities Summit

"Designing a Just City" session - Photo by Benedict Jones

About the Cities Summit


The Cities Summit at SXSW is an opportunity for civic leaders and creative urbanists of all disciplines to join together to learn, strategize and form coalitions to transform the cities of tomorrow. Join us for two days of dynamic programming, performance, pop-up exhibits, and events exploring the future of our cities.

“Cities are on the front lines of change in our society. Cities are where the economic expansion, the new ideas, and the cultural advances happen, where we are making the necessary progress on climate change and where we show that inclusion and diversity are not burdens to tolerate but necessary ingredients for success and survival. Cities are not bubbles where we preserve the past. Cities are incubators of the future. There is nowhere this is more true than Austin, Texas, and that’s why I am so thrilled that SXSW will be hosting a Cities Summit.”

– City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler

Cities are shaped by the culture, creativity and values of all who reside in them. It’s through this lens that SXSW approaches cities: what roles do culture, design and innovation play in shaping the equitable, resilient and livable cities of the future?

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Cities Summit Highlights



The Cities Summit program includes short talks, high-level conversations, workshops and networking events centered around three focus areas.

Cities as Narrative
Through arts, film, music, and culture, a look at how we tell stories about cities, and how places tell their own stories.

Cities of Innovation
Tech, startups, designers, policymakers, and nonprofits are finding new ways to solve existing problems.

Cities for All
Envisioning an equitable and inclusive future of urbanization through topics such as social justice, accessibility, health, immigration, and climate change.

Place by Design

Place by Design is SXSW’s public space design competition, celebrating transformative work at the intersection of art, technology, and design that rethinks how we use and interact with the places around us. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Finalists, who will pitch their work in a fast-paced pitch competition at SXSW.




CityLab is dedicated to the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there. Through sharp analysis, original reporting, and visual storytelling, CityLab focuses on the biggest ideas and most pressing issues facing the world’s metro areas and neighborhoods.

The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved 474 grants totaling $141.5 million and made 14 social investment commitments totaling $50.8 million.

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Session Formats

Learn more about the session formats for programming tracks at the SXSW Conference.

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Explore the 2018 SXSW Schedule

Plan your SXSW adventure today! Use the online schedule to browse through 2018 events and build your personal schedule.

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This programming evolved out of SXSW Eco, and continues its mission to advance creative solutions that drive social, economic, and environmental change.

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