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In their 1987 landmark report entitled “Our Common Future”, the World Commission on Environment and Development issued a clear call to action.  The Commission, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, declared that sustainability is more than natural resource conservation and environmental protection.  Sustainability promises future generations the right to a clean natural world and hope for a better future and society, while not depriving current generations of opportunity in their own lifetime. Thus, our collective future calls us to act across a broad spectrum, ranging from multi-generational global planning efforts to the daily actions and choices of every human being. 

Foreshadowing one of the greatest challenges we continue to face today, “Our Common Future” profoundly stated;

“The Earth is one but the world is not. We all depend on one biosphere for sustaining our lives. Yet each community, each country, strives for survival and prosperity with little regard for its impact on others.”[1]

This is the challenge we come to address, in part, through this forum.  How do urban areas, and specifically towns, build a global community to deliver not only survival and prosperity, but also a clean natural world and a better future for everyone?  Through a set of distinguished keynote addresses and curated panel discussions, we look to address this question, and propose pathways toward bold, forward-looking solutions.  Through the collective efforts of towns and cities around the globe, we envision an Earth and a world of one to answer that now-famous call to action issued over three decades ago.

[1] Brundtland, G. H., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S., & Chidzero, B. (1987). Our common future. New York.




 in collaboration with International Towns Federation


Contact Information

Center for Sustainable Development & Global Competitiveness
473 Via Ortega, Y2E2 Room 254
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305
Phone: 650-723-6506