Remembering Neal Peirce: The Pioneer of Urban Journalism

Conference Hall B
Citistates Group
Partner (s)
General Assembly of Partners (GAP)
Former members of the Citistates Group
Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation, Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation
Thomson Reuters Foundation
World Enabled
Perkins Eastman
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Neal Peirce was a veteran U.S. journalist who passed away in late December 2019 at the age of 87.  He pioneered the craft of urban journalism – reporting on cities and local government issues as vital concerns for mainstream media, as opposed to the near exclusive focus on national politics more common at the time. He came to see cities as a solution rather than a problem much earlier than the mainstream discourse, which was still mired in the “urban crisis” of the 1960s. In August 1996, in the follow-up to the Habitat II Conference, Neal authored a syndicated column that appeared in several prominent newspapers on UN-Habitat’s work on best practices – a concept that was rarely used at the time in the public sector. The editorial provided a key impetus to UN-Habitat’s seminal work on best practices and local leadership for years to come. Through his reporting, books, consultancies, and publications and associations that he founded such as Citistates and Citiscope, Neal contributed greatly to the field. This remembrance of his illustrious career will also pivot to discuss the future of urban media.


Media has been recognized by the General Assembly of Partners as a component of delivering on the New Urban Agenda and SDGs. Communication of urban solutions is essential to achieving both agendas.

Stories and anecdotes about Neal Peirce that will help extend his legacy; including material for a possible published appreciation of his life and career. A renewed focus on the role of the media in disseminating urban issues. Awareness and fundraising for a proposed urban journalism grant in Neal Peirce’s honour.



Remembering Neal Peirce: 30 minutes of remembrances – up to 5 minutes per person

The Future of Urban Media: 30 minutes of moderated discussion on the future of urban journalism

Guiding Questions

What was your relationship to Neal Peirce?

How did Neal Peirce’s writing influence your perspective on cities?

What is the future of urban journalism?

How can the media tell the story of cities that are taking action on the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs?

Session Speakers

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