Introduction to Roundtable Forums

A PRCUD Roundtable Forum is a high-level public forum held to facilitate dialogue between invited local and international experts focusing on a critical urban development topic in the host city. PRCUD works closely with the host city to identify and recruit highly qualified international experts with relevant expertise for the topics to be addressed by the forum. Topics addressed by the Roundtable Forum are selected by the host city in consultation with PRCUD. Recently addressed topics have included local economic development, cultural heritage preservation, inner city revitalization, large-scale land reclamation, planning for climate change and urban riverfront transformation.


Benefits

World class experts from around the Pacific Rim and beyond bring their knowledge and experience to bear on a specific urban development challenge facing the host city.  In addition, they will help to disseminate knowledge about the host city to the rest of the world.  PRCUD encourages attendance at the forum from senior representatives from other cities facing similar challenges, in order to disseminate knowledge about the issues more widely.

Unique Format

The PRCUD Forum focuses on dialogue among local and international experts, and strongly discourages formal presentations or lectures.The presumption is that all those seated at the round table are well prepared and have something useful to contribute, and so a skillfully managed conversation around well-designed topics is the main format. It is therefore essential to have background materials prepared beforehand and circulated to the participants well in advance.The roundtable sessions are supplemented by field visits to sites within the host city.  The field visit provides a common foundation for the roundtable discussions.

There are several defining characteristics of a typical PRCUD Forum:

  • The forum convenes local and international expertise to address policy issues identified by the host city;
  • The format begins with a one-day (typically Sunday) professional site visit by all participants so that they have a common experiential basis for the roundtable dialogue.
  • Over the following two days there are five sequential roundtable sessions.  Each session focuses on an over-riding question, and session chairs are carefully chosen for their relevant expertise and their ability to facilitate an inclusive and cohesive collective discourse amongst the two dozen roundtable participants. 
  • The final session takes place on the morning of the third day (Wednesday).  Each session chair is given ten minutes to summarize key points of discussion and key recommendations.
  • Briefing materials are prepared beforehand and distributed to all participants who are expected to do their “homework” prior to arrival.  Shortly after the forum, PRCUD prepares for the host city a Forum Report that provides a more detailed overview and record of the discussions and recommendations.

Dates

The dates of a Forum should be agreed upon jointly between the host organization and PRCUD.  A minimum of six months is recommended from the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the opening of the event, to allow for detailed  preparation of background materials and carefully selected invitations.

Participants

PRCUD Roundtable Forums draw on global networks of leading scholars and practitioners and bring their talents to bear on the specific concerns of the host city.  This brings global knowledge to bear on local practice, while also informing the global community of noteworthy local contexts and practices.  Although the audience for a PRCUD Forum normally numbers in the hundreds, with ample media coverage as well, the number of Roundtable participants is normally limited to about two dozen in any one session, where some may participate in all or several sessions.  Individual participants are invited based on their specialized expertise and/or their comprehensive knowledge.

Outcomes from the PRCUD Roundtable Forum

The principal outcome from the PRCUD Forum is a thorough overview and set of recommendations prepared for the host city. These summary recommendations are conveyed through verbal presentations to the Mayor and others on the final day of the forum, and PRCUD then prepares a written report shortly afterwards with a more detailed overview of the issues and key recommendations.  These reports are made available through the PRCUD website and disseminated widely to interested parties.  PRCUD also assists hosts cities with follow-up activities regarding implementation of recommendations from the forum.

Additional Activities & Outcomes

Additional follow-on activities vary, depending on the needs of the host city. The PRCUD Roundtable Forum provides a venue where local government officials and local experts are able to significantly enhance and expand their network of international contacts, and this may lead to any number of follow-up activities, including the possibility of training programs tailored to an action plan, or to other issues and lessons arising from the Forum. In past Forums, host organizations have asked PRCUD experts and Forum participants to provide their multi-disciplinary professional insights and comments on concrete urban development plans; suggest mechanisms for the implementation of plans; or discuss selected urban development topics in a mixed academic and professional setting. 

Roundtable Forums

Malacca, Malaysia 
(2001)

Tokyo/Chiba, Japan
(2000)

Long Beach, United States
(1999)

Kaohsiung, Taiwan
(1998)

Singapore
(1997)

Seoul, Korea
(1996)

Brisbane, Australia
(1995)

Taipei, China
(1994)

San Francisco, United States
(1993)

Yokohama, Japan
(1992)

Vancouver, Canada
(1991)

Hong Kong, China
(1990)

Los Angeles, United States
(1989)