This one-and-a-half day closed door seminar will bring together participants from prominent international think tanks that study cities to facilitate a space for exchange on on-going and forthcoming research projects
Over the past two decades there has been steadily growing policy and scholarly interest in the role of cities as promoters of transnational action. In part, this attention has been triggered by the proliferation of international city networks, such as Metropolis and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), which have demonstrated the capacities and capabilities of networked cities for tackling global challenges from climate change to sustainability. In this context, cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Seoul emerged as potent players. More recently, the explicit withdrawal of some nation states from international cooperation, exemplified by the British decision to leave the European Union (EU) and the “America First” policies of the Trump administration, further propelled cities to the centre of international affairs. While in the United Kingdom, London City Hall launched the “London is Open” campaign as a first strategy to maintain close relations with EU neighbours, in the United States more than sixty mayors signed the “Chicago Climate Charter”, committing to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement at the municipal level. All these developments point to the emergence of a new system of multi-scalar global governance in which cities are taking on some of the roles previously reserved for nation states, ranging from the creation of international policymaking frameworks and advocacy coalitions to formulating and implementing global agendas.
The seminar will explore how the global and local politics of cities intersect in light of their growing influence in the global governance system. In other words, we will zoom in on the place and role of cities as the central link between the grand narratives of global agendas and the everyday realities of their local implementation. Examining what can be termed the “global politics of cities”, we will ask how the growing influence of cities in specific areas of global governance is driven and informed by their local and regional experiences, insights and performances. In turn, we will reflect on how global agendas are being localized in cities and how much agency and creative adaptation municipal governments have shown in this process. Departing from a broad concept of cities, the seminar will also examine the experience of metropolitan regions, which account for a major part of today´s urban growth and which occupy an increasingly important place in the debate on global governance.
While the focus will be on areas of global governance in which the involvement of cities has been established as essential, such as environmental governance and, more recently, urban and development policies, we will also discuss an area in which cities are currently beginning to be more influential: human mobility. By bringing together experts on these different areas, the objective is to discuss why cities have played a more significant role in the formulation of some global policies and agendas than in others and how this relates to their local performances. The overall purpose of this exercise is to identify what challenges and opportunities today´s shifting geopolitical landscape poses for city governments in collaboration with other more traditional actors in international relations.
The one-and-a-half day closed door seminar will bring together participants from prominent international think tanks that study cities. The first day will consist of two thematic panels, followed by a roundtable discussion during which each seminar participant is invited to give a 10 minute presentation on his/her institution´s research programme on cities and metropolitan-regions, elaborating on key research lines, methods and outputs. The objective of this roundtable is to facilitate a space for exchange on on-going and forthcoming research projects and to potentially explore opportunities for future collaboration. In the evening there will be a drinks reception with representatives of Barcelona-based city networks, such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Metropolis and Educating Cities. The second day will be dedicated to site visits in the Barcelona region where global sustainability agendas are effectively localized.
Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB
Alfred Bosch i Pascual, Vice President, International Affairs and Cooperation, Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB)
Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB
Moderator: Octavi de la Varga, Secretary General, Metropolis
Camilla Bausch, Scientific Director and CEO, Ecologic Institute
Darshini Mahadevia, Professor, Faculty of Planning and Director of Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, Ahmedabad
Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban Policy and Director of African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
Juliana Kerr, Director, Global Cities and Immigration, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Moderator: Xavier Tiana, Head of International Relations, Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB)
Tobia Zevi, Associate Research Fellow, Global Cities Desk, Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
Gabriel Lanfranchi, Director, Cities Programme, Centre for the Implementation of Public Policies promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)
Qiu Aijun, Deputy Director General, China Centre for Urban Development (CCUD)
Andrew Carter, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities
Marek Gootman, Fellow and Director of Strategic Partnerships and Global Initiatives, Metropolitan Policy Programme, Brookings Institution
Moderator: Eckart Woertz, Senior Researcher, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB
Hannah Adullah, Researcher, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB