Impact Hub Brings In Representatives From 80+ Cities Around The World For Unlikely Allies
18 August 2016 - Impact Hub

Impact Hub brings in representatives from 80+ cities around the world for

Unlikely Allies: Future of Cities Festival and City Solutions Laboratory, July 5-6 in Seattle

Creating Collaborative Solutions for the Future of Cities – The Global Impact Hub Network Connects, Inspires and Enables with First Public Global Festival

Seattle–June 24, 2016–Impact Hub, a global network of social impact innovation labs hosting 15,000 members across the globe, will put its ecosystem to work connecting local and global communities to inspire and enable collaborative solutions for the Future of Cities.

Unlikely Allies: Future of Cities Festival and City Solutions Laboratory is a two-day festival that takes place in a new city each year, bringing together thought leaders and inspired citizens to make real change happen on key issues of the world today. This year’s festival, at Impact Hub Seattle July 5-6, connects members from 80+ cities around the world; from artists and activists to corporate entities like Vulcan, BMW Foundation and Microsoft, to city officials from the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation. Joining together as allies, festival attendees will spend two days sharing, learning, doing hands-on exploration and innovating around 10 of the most difficult challenges we face as a global society today with the main goal to leverage a global team to turn local issues into global solutions.

10 Focus Areas

  1. Climate Change
  2. The Refugee crisis
  3. Homelessness
  4. Economic Justice and Mobility
  5. Tech4good
  6. Civic Engagement and Innovation
  7. Social Purpose and the Maker Movement
  8. The Role of Arts and Culture
  9. The Role of Design and the Built Environment
  10. Education in Complex Urban Environments


Why Future of Cities

Cities are the focal point of many of the greatest challenges of this era. By 2050 the UN estimates that more than 65% of the world’s population will live in a city. Impact Hubs work as key platforms for city-based, grassroots change and link into the global social impact movement. Together with all of its allies (likely and unlikely), Impact Hub will scale its action to collectively shape the future of our cities.


“Impact Hub is uniquely positioned to connect diverse stakeholders around a shared vision and enable them to take sustained and collaborative action. We felt both a need and responsibility to leverage this ecosystem to inspire and enable systemic impact at global scale – which is how Unlikely Allies was born. From Microsoft’s civic tech team to Jason McLennon of, from city leaders like the San Francisco Mayor’s office to NGO’s like Urban Refugees – we’ve gathered all the right people in the room to build solutions that create resilient future cities and we’ve got the infrastructure of the global Impact Hub teams to help make these solutions transferable to 80+ cities around the world.” – Gabriela Gandel, Managing Director at Impact Hub Global.

Keynote Speakers

  • Majora Carter, MacArthur ‘genius’ Fellow, Peabody Award winning broadcaster, social enterprise pioneer, real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, and one of the 1st six TED Talks to launch their groundbreaking website. Majora will addresses the chronic economic underperformance of low-status communities from a perspective of talent-retention vs brain-drain touching on economic justice and mobility and gentrification.
  • Carol Coletta, Senior Fellow, Kresge Foundation: Coletta leads a national inquiry into the value of economic integration on America’s cities and how to achieve it. She manages a collaborative fund of $40 million, the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets–a civic commons–can yield increased and more widely shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.
  • Shayna Englin, Managing Director of Englin is an expert on grassroots advocacy strategiesin particular the intersection of digital and traditional tactics and her issue area expertise includes education, gun violence prevention, and health care.
  • Randy Engstrom, Director at the City of Seattle’s office of Arts and Culture: Engstrom is a passionate advocate and organizer for cultural and community development, a recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts, founding member of the artist live/work project Stronghold Arts Collective and one of Puget Sound Business Journals 40 under 40.
  • Gordon Feller, Co-Founder, Meeting of the Minds: Feller was the former Director of Urban Innovation at Cisco Systems. He advises leaders on harnessing the power of advanced technologies which can enable them to solve complex problems with a special focus on practical solutions where economics, technology, and sustainability intersect. He was appointed as an Abe Fellow by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, and he also serves as a Fellow at the Urban Sustainability Lab within the Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center.
  • Jason McLennan, Design and Founder of International Living Future Institute: Considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today and the recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize, Jason F. McLennan’s work has made a pivotal impact on the shape and direction of green building in the United States and Canada.

Presenters – Full list of presenters can be found here

Event Details

The festival is comprised of four main parts, centered on Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, with events in the Impact Hub Seattle, at Occidental Park and branching out across the city at locations including Zillow, Duwamish river, Seattle Foundation, Homeless shelters and more.

  1. July 5: 1pm – 7pm & July 6: 8 am – 6 pm – City Solutions Laboratory Part 1&2 – the main learning forum of the festival: Ted-style talks, masterclasses, think tanks, keynotes, case study sessions, films and more.
  2. July 5: 12pm – 9 pm – Unlikely Allies in the ParkAttendees and the public can participate in activities organized throughout the Pioneer Square neighborhood and Occidental Park including music, dancing, food trucks, local vendors and special curated city tours.
  3. July 6: 8am – 6pm – Learning Expeditions – Attendees get hands on experience when they choose one of four all day expeditions into the city of Seattle. Participants will explore critical topics facing our cities including: Homelessness, Climate Justice, Arts and Civic Engagement.
  4. July 6: 6pm – 9pm – We Are the City Wrap-up, Reflection and Celebration – The final closing will have all allies reporting back on key learnings and reflecting on the future to unite and empower joint next steps. The event closes with an evening of networking and a reception with food and cocktails provided by a collection of small local restaurants who will set up inside the Impact Hub Seattle. This portion of the event is free for festival attendees and is also open for non-festival attendees to purchase tickets to for $15.


Unlikely Alies tickets can be purchased on the Unlikely Allies website at: Impact Hub’s Unlikely Allies festival will travel from Seattle to Berlin in 2017, where future and existing allies will continue to address and innovate around the action items, learnings and solutions from this year’s festival along with any new challenges that are affecting the Future of Cities worldwide. Information on next year’s festival will be available on the Unlikely Allies website after this years event is completed.


About Unlikely Allies

Unlikely Allies is an annual two-day festival that takes place in a new city each year, bringing together more than 500 global and local thought leaders, changemakers, inspired citizens and their unlikely allies: the hackers, artists, policy makers, activists, corporate innovators and designers needed to make real change happen on key issues of our world today. The international festival is hosted by the global Impact Hub network, which brings in representatives from the 80+ Impact Hubs around the world to connect, inspire and enable real sustainable change. In 2016 and 2017, Unlikely Allies will explore the theme of creating positive solutions for the Future of Cities. The 2017 festival will be held in Berlin, Germany.


About Impact Hub
Impact Hub, founded in 2005, is the leading global network for creative collaborative action to realize enterprising ideas for a better world. Part innovation lab, part business incubator, part social enterprise community center, Impact Hub offers a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to increase positive impact on the world. From Accra to Sao Paulo, Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur; Impact Hub continues to rapidly expand worldwide, with a global community of more than 12,000 members in 80+ locations on 5 continents. Impact Hub hosts the annual Unlikely Allies festival in a new city each year. For more information visit