CIDOB Embarks on the Study of Global Cities

GLOBAL CITIES - May 22, 2018

 The new program has the support of the Barcelona City Council and aims to make Barcelona an international reference point in the study of cities.

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"A plural and innovative space of creative and critical thought and debate about the city project we want to build in the next decade". With these words Gerardo Pisarello -first Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council- expressed the importance of rethinking global cities and reflecting on urban issues during the presentation of the CIDOB Global Cities Program (GCP) that took place this morning. Pisarello explained that this is a shared initiative between the city of Barcelona and CIDOB with the aim of building a research agenda to propose innovative solutions to the real challenges that cities share. Pisarello also stressed the need to “help cities think critically about how they can engage their pressing challenges beyond the day-to-day policies of the municipalities and their political cycles" and pointed out the importance of doing so in Barcelona, "a city that is involved in these issues, has a long tradition of urban self-reflection, and that carries in its DNA the generation of spaces of thought".

Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director of the CIDOB Global Cities Program, underscored the relevance of this new line of research -especially taking into account that currently more than half of the world's population is concentrated in cities- because "globalization has important effects on cities and, at the same time, the urban reality affects the processes of globalization". In this sense, the Program recognizes the need to empower cities to access and share knowledge to face the challenges that they share.

Eva García Chueca, Scientific Coordinator of the Program, reviewed some examples of good practices carried out in other cities, especially in Latin America, such as those conducted in Montevideo (Uruguay) to feminize politics and take care of the different groups that live in the city.

New approaches to Global Cities: international municipalism and the right to the city

The GCP will approach the study of global cities from a double perspective. The first perspective relates to the international projection of cities and to the configuration of a new international municipalism committed to making cities transcend borders and forge alliances to share solutions and influence global agendas. The second perspective addresses the concept of the "right to the city" as a paradigm that articulates a new relationship between the city and its citizens, based on the principles of social and spatial justice, equality, democracy and sustainability.

Gentrification and financialization of housing and the city; urban violence; energy transition; migrations; governance; global agendas and common goods are some of the thematic priorities of the CIDOB Global Cities Program for the next two years.

The program has an Advisory Board that will provide advice on the different fields of research of the program and contribute to its theoretical reflections. The Board consists of 16 experts -8 men and 8 women- including the sociologist Saskia Sassen, a key international figure in the study of global cities, Professor Manuel Castells and the president of HIC, Lorena Zárate.

The presentation of the CIDOB Global Cities Program has also meant the reopening of the Capella dels Infants Orfes building, a space that CIDOB had previously occupied and which is now recovering to host this laboratory of ideas on global cities.

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