Increasingly it is cities and towns, rather than states or countries, that are being asked to take the lead in developing and implementing policies on everything from climate adaptation to addressing housing inequality to upgrading infrastructure. Yet historically, these smaller jurisdictions are ill-equipped to meet this challenge. In his new book, Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun, Gabe Klein tackles head-on all the things that impede the public sector from acting more nimbly: the perennial under-staffing, the weight of bureaucracy, legacy systems and regulation, and the often-adversarial relationship with the private sector.
Gabe Klein is a relentless advocate for making the built environment better, and in his keynote he will discuss how, by following certain basic principles, individuals can be true change agents, the private and public sectors can align their motives and goals around a shared vision for the future, and rapid change and disruption can be harnessed to make these places more livable, resilient and fun.
Mr. Klein is the former director of the Chicago Department of Transportation under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former director of the District Department of Transportation under then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. In Washington he launched Capital Bikeshare, the first large-scale bikeshare system in the country, and in Chicago he launched Divvy, now the largest bikeshare system in the country.
Before entering the public sphere, Mr. Klein worked for startups, including Zipcar, where he served as vice president for four years. He also wrote a business model for the first point-to-point car sharing concept and co-founded the first all-natural multi-unit food truck company in the United States. In 2015, Gabe joined Fontinalis Partners as a special venture partner on their new fund. He continues to advise a number of technology and mobility companies, including Transit Screen and Phone2Action, where he provides leadership on strategy. He is on the boards of the National Association of City Transportation Officials and the transportation website Streetsblog.