City networks, an opportunity to learn and share knowledge and know-how

Publication date:
Marina Canals, Secretary General, International Association of Educating Cities

Globalisation has brought about an acceleration of time and a shortening of distances. We do not live in citadels anymore but in an interconnected world. In this changing context local governments have also had to adapt to and learn new ways of dealing with new and old problems.

As the closest administration to citizens, local governments have to respond fast and efficiently to new situations and this has brought along with it new ways of organisation and governance. Local governments have understood the benefits and opportunities of managing their matters and challenges in networks of different kinds and scopes. Learning from others’ best practices saves time and resources. It is hard to imagine a world without networks, and local governments are no exception. This phenomenon is not new. During the twentieth century, cities invested resources to develop networks and to open dialogue both within their territories and at the regional, national and international levels. However in the past decades there has been a considerable increase in the number of cities, departments and city officials involved in international networks.