MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

CEO for Cities: Carol Coletta

Carol Coletta is president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, and host and producer of the nationally syndicated public radio show Smart City. She is currently pursuing a Master of Design Methods at the Institute of Design. Previously, she served as executive director of the Mayors' Institute on City Design in Memphis. Among her accomplishments, she created and hosted the Memphis Manifesto Summit with Richard Florida, the first gathering of the creative class to write their call to action for cities; and conceived and wrote the Talent Magnet Report, the first city blueprint aimed at attracting and retaining the creative class.

Carol Coletta spoke of her work with CEOs for Cities.

Some interesting observations:

  • 64% of people in a recent survey chose the city they lived in before they chose the job they had. They wanted clean and attractive cities, and they wanted cities that would allow them to live the life they wanted to live.
  • Successful cities seek talent, get connected, are innovative, and distinctive
  • Cities based on transit die--time has become too precious; transit is slow and indirect and the car is flexible and fast
  • Nobody lives in Detroit except those who have no other choice

If you've been paying attention to the Creative Class and Creative Cities dialogue, you may have come across the Memphis Manifesto, Carol's work in her home town.

Like some others at this conference, she is a very accomplished professional but now back to school to study design methods and advance the next step in her explorations and influence.

I talked with Carol after her presentation, (I thought I was talking with Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics!) I was uniquely concerned about her comment that "the only people who live in Detroit are people who have no other choice." She quickly sought to correct my reference to her comment by saying that "It is people's impression that..."

Carol had made reference in her presentation about her work with Kwame Kilpatrick. I discussed some aspects of more local impressions. Referencing Mayor Dailey in Chicago, she offered great formulation: "Cities are only a mayor away from greatness."

We also talked a bit about Create Detroit (are you all involved with this organization???) and the implications of some of the work we are doing currently.