Global Cities


The planet is becoming so urbanised that by 2050 around 70% of the population will live in cities. Cities are the headquarters of governments, companies and universities, concentrating economic activity, employment, creativity and innovation. However, cities are also the setting in which poverty, exclusion, inequality, speculation, insecurity and pollution emerge.

In this context, in recent years city governments have gone from being simple public policy implementers to becoming leading political actors with an increasingly international role. Besides this, they have become laboratories for solutions to challenges that respond to a global logic but are manifested at local level.

Against this background, an important source of inspiration that can maximise the capacity of cities to design groundbreaking, effective and sustainable public policies is to draw on elements of analysis and experiences from other contexts.

The Global Cities Programme originates from the will to generate knowledge based on the comparative analysis of what happens in the world’s cities and to place innovative and sustainable solutions at the service of the city, its citizens and the international community.

The main research areas for the years 2018–2019 are:

1) New paradigms of urban development based on the principles of inclusion of all sectors of society, environmental sustainability and rural-urban solidarity ties;

2) The phenomenon of urbanisation and its impact on the development of public policies that address the main social needs;

3) New economic models as opportunities to promote inclusion, innovation and collaborative production systems;

4) Environmental, mobility and infrastructure investment policies to carry out the energy transition and face the challenges of climate change;

5) The management of migration, with special emphasis on guaranteeing rights, access to public services and impact on sustainable development;

6) Urban violence and the response to the challenges of international security;

7) The localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

For each of these research axes, the programme will pay attention to the following mainstreaming elements:

• new governance models linked to the growing role cities play in the global agenda, to the processes of decentralisation and to the implementation of participatory mechanisms involving the city's main economic and social actors;

• the resilience of cities in the face of local and global crises and challenges;

• the international action of cities as an instrument to strengthen intermunicipal and multilevel collaboration. 

The Advisory Council of the program formed by local and international experts


Manuel Castells, Profesor de Sociologia y Urbanismo, Univ. Califòrnia, Berkeley

Maria Buhigas, Arquitecta y urbanista, fundadora d’URBAN-FACTS

Josep Ramoneda, Periodista, filosofo y escritor

Mariona Tomàs, Professora Agregada de Ciencia Política, UB

Mateu Hernández Maluquer, Director, Barcelona Global

Emilia Saiz, Secretaria General, Ciudades y Gobiernes Locales Unidos

Rafael Vilasanjuan, Director of Policy and Global Development, Institut de Salut Global de Barcelona

Yayo Herrero, Antropóloga, ingeniera y ecofeminis


Saskia Sassen, Catedra Robert S. Lynd de Sociologia, Universidad de Columbia, Nova York

Greg Clark, Hon. Profesor, UCL, City Leadership Lab Board

Ananya Roy, Profesora, University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles

Edgard Pieterse, Director, African Centre for Cities, Universitat de Cape Town

Henda Gafsi, Urbanista, CILG-VNGi (Centre International de Développement pour la Gouvernance Locale Innovante), Tunísia

Giovanni Allegretti, Arquitect & Senior Researcher, Centre for Social Studies, Univ. Coimbra

Teresa Caldeira, Catedratica de Estudios Regionales y Urbanos, Univ. Califòrnia, Berkeley

Lorena Zárate, Presidenta, Coalición Internacional del Hábitat


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