The emergence of city alliances and fronts: Towards new forms of local government influence?

Publication date:
Jean-Pierre Malé, Former Director of the Observatory of Decentralised Cooperation

CIDOB’s seminar Rethinking the ecosystem of international city networks: Challenges and opportunities held on July 3rd 20181 focussed on the “ecosystem” of city networks to examine this form of collaboration between local institutions, which is undoubtedly one of the clearest and most striking expressions of the progressive internationalisation of local governments (LGs).

To complement the work done in the seminar, this paper seeks to bring to light certain emerging forms of relations between LGs, which I will call “strategic alliances” of cities or “fronts”. Although they share certain features with networks, these alliances exhibit particular characteristics that distinguish them from the familiar networks, both in their goals and their modes of action. To address this phenomenon, I will examine their genesis and distinguish two types of front.