Adora Svitak, a young American writer and lecturer, will speak at the MIPIM opening conference on 13 March, challenging property professionals on tomorrow’s cities and urging them to pay attention to the expectations of the younger generation, organisers have announced.
A child prodigy, Svitak, now 20, published her first book at the age of eight. In 2010, when she was just 10, she hosted a TED conference on What Adults Can Learn From Kids, attracting 5m viewers online. "The world needs 'childish' thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism," she told the audience.
MIPIM organisers Reed Midem said in a release that Svitak in 2013 participated in the Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations alongside Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, encouraging young people to change the direction of history with daring and imagination. Ban called on young people to, "be part of creating a new vision. It is not only about telling us what kind of world you want. It is about partnering with us to realize a better future."
Rejecting the cliché of a selfish and superficial 'me, me, me' generation, Svitak emphasises the strong sense of community among young people who aspire to more humane, sustainable and smarter urban spaces. "It’s up to you to work more like an organism, and less like an organisation," she said. "Be a living, breathing, changing, responsive place, so that those that join you are not there to work up through a structure, but immediately be part of a living system."
Ronan Vaspart, head of MIPIM markets for Reed Midem, commented: "Boldness and imagination are our keywords for MIPIM 2018. We want to shake up things by giving the floor this year to a representative of the younger generation who can provoke property professionals and make them think. I hope that this will start a dialogue between the people who build today’s and tomorrow’s cities and those who live in them."
Following her speech, Svitak will moderate the Thinkers & Leaders panel on 13 March at 3pm, to discuss "writing new urban rules."