SXSW Takeaways: 'The Immediate Future Is All About Cities'

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and several other city leaders discuss their experience at this year's South by Southwest conference.
by | March 14, 2018

Find all our coverage of South by Southwest at governing.com/sxsw.

With high-power validation from an international colleague -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan -- three-dozen American mayors immersed themselves in four days of discussion and experience at this year's South by Southwest festival of technology, policy and the arts.

The mayors engaged in wide-ranging conversations about common issues -- from immigration and workforce to the fights for equity and against opioid addiction.

The host city, Austin, has itself been buffeted by a fight over the future of public transportation. Last year, Uber and Lyft were conspicuous in their absence at SXSW. The city was at odds with the ride-hailing companies, a fight that was ultimately preempted by regulations from the Texas state Legislature.

Both those companies were back this year, along with new entrants in the growing category of mobility service providers. They're all pitching themselves to cities as partners who can help connect urban residents to the first and last mile of public transportation.

In this special episode of our "Go Public" podcast, recorded live at SXSW, we spoke with mayors about their key takeaways from this year's event.