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Charter Cities Institute Updates July 2022

Here’s a quick look back at what’s been happening at the Charter Cities Institute this summer and what to look out for in the near future.

We hope you’re having a great summer. Here at the Charter Cities Institute, we’re having fun, but we’ve also been very busy, traveling the world and making strides to build the ecosystem for charter cities. Here’s a quick look back at what’s been happening and what to look out for in the near future:

CCI Team News

We’ll start things off with some exciting news: our Head of Research Kurtis Lockhart has been officially appointed to serve as the new Executive Director of CCI. He has huge plans and a bold vision on how to take the team to the next level, and we look forward to him building on our Founder, Mark Lutter’s, hard work. 

CCI and the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab are co-hosting the 1st New Cities Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 1-2, 2022. We’re bringing together a variety of researchers and practitioners to initiate a dialogue on utilizing new cities as engines of economic growth and global development. Learn how to join us or submit your research here

The CCI Zambia Office is in full swing, working hard to push the charter cities movement forward in Lusaka and across the continent. CCI Zambia is already a member of Zambia’s Technology Sector Working Group reporting directly to the Minister of Science and Technology, and the team is co-writing a policy paper on charter cities legislation (“MFEZ Cities”) with the Zambia Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR).

Our partnerships team is extremely busy. We signed an MOU with Malawi’s National Planning Commission (NPC), establishing CCI as a key implementation partner for Malawi’s Secondary Cities Plan. Kurtis Lockhart moderated a panel on Leveraging Financing Options to Accelerate SGD Progress at the US-Africa Business Summit in Morocco, and we spoke on charter cities at the World Urban Forum and AfriCities Summit.

The Charter Cities Institute became an official member of the World Free Zones Organization. We’re excited to be a part of the strongest, most active free-zone organization in the world.

NXT50 Cities Coalition Updates

Our newest initiative, the NXT50 Cities Coalition was launched in April and is already nearly 20 members strong. This global initiative helps bring together major corporate, governmental, and multilateral players who are building the next generation of cities in Africa. Join the coalition here!

We match investors with cities and we’re hosting and attending events – including these – to convene key stakeholders:

  • UN General Assembly Side Event (Tentatively September 19th)
  • African Renaissance Conference (Date TBD)

New Publications and Media

Urban researcher Heba Elhanafy published the Planning Guidelines, a Charter Cities Institute flagship report providing an overview of how city planners can effectively create a charter city that generates sustained and inclusive economic growth.

Jeff Mason wrote about his observations on Jamaica’s economic future and a model for transforming military bases into charter cities. We also introduced the new blog series “When the River Crosses a City,” where we highlight cities around the world and how their waterways impact communities.

Several new episodes of the Charter Cities Podcast were released, including The Real Story of China in Africa with Deborah Brautigam, Lessons on Economic Growth for the Future with Dr. Jared Rubin, Exploring Solutions to the Development Problem with Efosa Ojomo, and much more.

The first six digital chapters of the Charter Cities Atlas have been published in partnership with Adrianople Group. This digital (and upcoming printed) book presents 13 examples of self-governing cities from history. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram.

What's Happening in the Charter City Space

  • NEOM, the futuristic new Saudi city envisioned by MBS, is facing difficulties as plans for the megaproject continue to change.
  • A team at ENAP (Brazil’s premier public administration school), published a new report looking at charter cities in the Brazilian context.
  • The President of Próspera’s development company detailed how the jurisdiction is incorporating Bitcoin into its regulatory environment.
  • Traditional Chinese urbanism, extremely underrated!


Please stay in touch with CCI – follow us on social media, join the NXT50 coalition or support the charter cities movement.

Thank you for continuing to follow and support our work, and enjoy the rest of summer.

Best wishes, 

Michael Holstein

Head of Communications

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