Copenhagen Study Tour

Searching for Inspiration in Copenhagen

We are just around the corner from our fourth annual Copenhagen study tour, which will be happening from October 7-11. Since 2014, 8 80 Cities has had the distinct pleasure of hosting different cohorts of civic leaders in Copenhagen for an annual five-day study tour, thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Leaders apply as part of small ‘city teams’ or as individuals to absorb all that Copenhagen has to offer when it comes to creating cities for people. Applicants hail from one of the 26 cities that Knight Foundation invests in. In the end, we select the top 25 leaders who have demonstrated their commitment, capacity, and ambition to transform their cities into happier, healthier places where public life thrives.

We love going to Copenhagen because it is one of the best cities that demonstrates the 8 80 principle –that if you create a city that’s great for an 8 and an 80-year-old, you’ll create a city that’s great for everyone.

This year’s cohort represents 11 different cities. Some of the questions we’ll be tackling in this year’s study tour include:

  • How did Copenhagen shift from a car-oriented society to one that prioritizes the experiences of people walking, biking, and taking public transit?
  • How can cities prioritize investments in public space when there are so many other competing budget priorities?
  • What are some of the fundamental cultural, social, and political differences between Copenhagen and American cities, and how can leaders account for that when attempting to translate some of the best practices to their home cities?
  • What are some ways cities can measure, test, and evaluate the success of streets and public spaces to make better decisions moving forward?
  • What are some policies and processes that might allow for neighbourhoods to grow, thrive, and remain affordable at the same time?

The participants are optimistic during their time in Copenhagen. There’s something magical that happens when you are in a new place with unfamiliar people and experiencing things for the first time. Throughout the week participants are buzzing with ideas and leave with an expanded sense of possibility for their cities.

However, the reality is that these individuals can’t do it all on their own. They need a critical mass of support from citizens, businesses, and other city leaders to create safer, happier, and healthier cities for all people.

Below is a list of all the leaders who have been selected to attend the 2017 Copenhagen Study Tour. Do you see someone from your city? What are some ways you can show your city leaders support in their quest to create a city where you look forward to growing up and growing old in?


James Hardy, Chief of Staff for Mayor Horiggan, City of Akron
Jason Segedy, Director of Planning, City of Akron
Malinda Sampsell, Grants Manager, City of Akron
Nick Moskos, Chief of Planning, Summit County Metroparks


Debra Campbell, Assistant City Manager, City of Charlotte
John Lewis, Executive Director, Charlotte Area Transit System
W. Clay Grubb, CEO, Grubb Properties Inc.


John Fellows, Planning Administrator, City of Columbia
Stephen Benjamin, Mayor, City of Columbia


Mark Cheever Wallace, President/CEO, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy


Emily Larson, Mayor, City of Duluth


Dowell Hoskins-Squier, Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works, City of Lexington
Jim Gray, Mayor, City of Lexington


Gary Wheat, President/CEO, Macon Visitors Bureau
Greg Brown, Senior Planner, Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning, Macon-Bibb County
Nigel Floyd, Traffic Engineer, Macon-Bibb County


Darlene Fernandez, Assistant Director of Traffic Services, Miami-Dade County
Jerry Bell, Assistant Director of Planning, Miami-Dade County
Matthew Pigatt, Commissioner, City of Opa-Locka


Helen Gym, Councilperson, City of Philadelphia
Michael Carroll, Managing Director, Transportation & Infrastructure, City of Philadelphia


Angel Rios, Director, Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, City of San Jose
John Brazil, Active Transportation Manager, City of San Jose
John Ristow, Deputy Director, Transportation, City of San Jose


Jeff Green, City Administrator, City of West Palm Beach


Join our mailing list.

Hear about how we are creating cities for all.

You have Successfully Subscribed!