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


Stay tuned to SXSW News and this page for information on SXSW 2019 registration, application periods, and more coming in Summer 2018.

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?

Cities Summit Track sessions are held March 12-13 at the Four Seasons.

Browse Cities Summit Sessions

Download the Cities Summit Guide for more information on the 2018 Program, finalists, evening events, and more.

2018 Cities Summit Guide

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. See all of our 2018 Place by Design Finalists, who will pitch their work in a fast-paced pitch competition at SXSW on Tuesday, March 13 at 12:30pm.

UNESCO Media Arts Exhibition

Highlighting Austin’s status as a Creative Media Arts City, the exhibition, presented by the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division, comprises a mini-showcase of media art installations at the Cities Summit, and a companion panel highlighting the global initiatives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Startup Spotlight

Meet, mingle and see demos from the newest entrepreneurs working in civic innovation, urban tech and smart cities on Monday, March 12 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Startup Spotlight.

Cities + Mentors

Meet and learn from a global array of city leaders in 15 minute, one on one meetings. RSVP through the SXSW Go app, limited walk-up spots available.




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.

Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is a family-led foundation that creates access to opportunity for people and communities by improving K-12 education, protecting the environment and advancing the quality of life in our home region.

Austin Technology Incubator

The Austin Technology Incubator is the startup incubator of the University of Texas at Austin. A program of the University’s IC² Institute, ATI has a 28-year track record of helping founding teams achieve success.

Austin Energy

Austin Energy is the nation’s 8th largest publicly owned electric utility serving more than 448,000 customers and more than 1 million residents. Their mission is to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service.

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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.

View the SXSW 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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