【Report】 The “International Symposium of Meridian 180 on City, Public Value, and Capitalism” was held!

On Saturday, July 23, 2022, the "International Symposium of Meridian 180 on City, Public Value, and Capitalism" was held and cohosted by the Asia-Japan Research Institute of Ritsumeikan University and the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs of Northwestern University. Some of the participants attended the event in person in the space called "Chronotopos" (Building B, 5F) at Ritsumeikan University's Osaka Ibaraki Campus, and others from Ritsumeikan University, Northwestern University, and Meridian 180 members from around the world attended online.

Panelists for this symposium in Chronotopos

This symposium was organized in order to commemorate the publication of the book entitled "City, Public Value, and Capitalism: New Urban Visions and Public Strategies" (2022, Northwestern University Libraries) edited by Hiroyuki Mori, Tomohiko Yoshida, and Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko. It is the first eBook produced jointly by Northwestern University and Ritsumeikan University.
Please access to the e-book version here.

First, Professor Mori Hiroyuki (Dean of the Graduate School of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University) as the moderator, began the symposium and introduced Professor Tokuda Akio (Vice President of Ritsumeikan University) who gave the opening address. He welcomed Prof. Annelise Riles, associate provost of global affairs and executive director of the Buffet Institute for global studies at Northwestern university, the three editors, the reviewers, and all contributors and participants.

After that, Professor Mori illustrated the process leading up to the publication of City, Public Value, and Capitalism, and explained the various activities such as international conferences hosted by Ritsumeikan University, online forums and global summits organized through Meridian 180, and meetings between the editors and writers, all of which had culminated in the publication of this book.

Professor Hiroyuki Mori moderating this symposium

Professor Akio Tokuda welcoming participants and celebrating the publication

Next, Professor Annelise Riles gave the keynote speech. As a founding director of Meridian 180 she is responsible for its development and operation and she contributed greatly to the publication of City, Public Value, and Capitalism with her dedicated cooperation in selecting the reviewers, developing and improving the e-book system, and negotiating with the publishers. She pointed out that the unique feature of this book being available online at no cost made it accessible to students and experts of all kinds. She emphasized the strong example of global cooperation in producing this book as a model for the future global university, explaining that a new network had been built of scholars who would not have had the chance to know each other or work together without this project. She stated that the next step would be to bring the ideas expressed in this book to next users and put them into practice.

Professor Annelise Riles giving her keynote speech with the new book

In the following session, Professor Tomohiko Yoshida (College of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University) and Professor Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko (Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland) who are the editors of City, Public Value, and Capitalism, introduced the contents of the book and discussed its academic significances and issues.

Professor Yoshida used the four-quadrant model of a market-community presented in Chapter 1 to illustrate an essential concept of this book that can be learned by applying the various urban practices presented in each chapter.

Professor Anttiroiko pointed out that the transformation of cities throughout this book is connected with the creation of public value in the post-capitalism phase, and emphasized the importance of cities that can play active roles in a future society where happiness and public value would replace economic success as the indicators of new cities.

Professor Tomohiko Yoshida delivering his speech at the venue

Professor Anttiroiko giving his speech online

In the next session the reviewers, Professor Clovis Bergere (Northwestern University, Qatar) and Professor Nicolas Douay (Université Grenoble Alpes and attaché for the Embassy of France in Chicago) commented on the book.

Professor Bergere focused on shrinking cities and discussed the significance of these cities as innovative spaces and the importance of social inclusion. In closing, he suggested the need for policies that take into account the complexity and dynamics of contemporary cities.

Professor Douay proposed a four-quadrant process-objective model for future urban policy based on his summary of this book, and discussed how to organize urban practices that are currently under way, while respectively attributing a political-technological axis for the process and a transition-growth axis for the objective.

Professor Bergere making his speech at the venue

Professor Douay delivering his speech online (right)

After a short break, the panel discussion took place. In this session, one of the main topics was the impact of the COVID-19 on cities, and particularly, panelists shared a focus on the extent to which the spread of remote working will transform cities as well as local areas. Professor Yoshida picked up the case of Kamiyama-cho town in Tokushima Prefecture in Japan in order to suggest the possibility that the development of remote working could lead to the utilization of unemployed assets in the city and new innovations, and he stressed the point that the spread of remote work could lead to significant changes in urban structure. In addition, Professor Mori, as a moderator, posed the question of whether similar cases have been developed in other countries or regions, and each panelist responded to this question with their own view of the future along with some interesting examples.

Panelists sharing several important topics and issues at the venue and online

At the end of the symposium, Professor Yasushi Kosugi (Director of Asia-Japan Research Institute, Ritsumeikan University) delivered his closing remarks, in which he pointed out the significance of the publication of the e-book from the perspective of the ancient codex and emphasized the significance of this urban research. He expressed his hopes for the further development of Meridian 180 in supporting international, multifaceted collaboration, and his wish for further cooperation and partnership between Ritsumeikan University and Northwestern University.

Professor Yasushi Kosugi making his closing remarks (left side and on screen)

Attendees in Chronotopos with a hardcopy of this newly published book