Rethinking the ecosystem of international city networks.Challenges and opportunities

Rethinking the ecosystem of international city networks.Challenges and opportunities

Publication date:
Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director, Global Cities Programme and Hannah Abdullah, Researcher, Global Cities Programme ,CIDOB (coords.)

Monografías CIDOB nº. 72

Cities have emerged as major players on the international scene in recent years. Yet, their ambition to project themselves internationally and to influence global agendas is not a new phenomenon. Cities have operated through organised networks for decades. The first international organisation of cities was the International Union of Local Authorities, created in 1913. Towards the end of the past century, the regional integration processes of the 1990s engendered a proliferation of city networks, especially in Europe but also in Latin America, Africa and Asia. In 2004, the founding of United Cities and Local Governments as a platform for international municipalism marked a turning point.

Today city networks play a growing role in defining and implementing some of the main global agendas. Their involvement in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, their success in adding a territorial dimension to the UN 2030 Agenda, and their participation in the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, are good examples of how city networks are making their voice heard. But the increasing importance attributed to urbanisation processes on international development agendas has also caused a reconfiguration of the ecosystem of city networks that brings with it both risks and opportunities.

This volume seeks to analyse the changing dynamics of the ecosystem of city networks, focusing on how the main platforms operate, what influence they have on global agendas, what services they provide and how they coordinate their efforts. By zooming in on the strategies networks have been developing to enhance their influence and make their operations more effective, the volume examines the added value they provide.

ISBN: 978-84-92511-66-2 

Key words: cities; city networks; global governance; alliances of cities; cooperative ecosystem

Publication content

Agustí Fernández de Losada and Hannah Abdullah

Unpacking and rethinking contemporary city networking

Towards a cooperative ecosystem of city networks
Agustí Fernández de Losada

The emergence of city alliances and fronts: Towards new forms of local government influence?
Jean-Pierre Malé

Cities, citizens and demodiversity: an overview of two generations of city networks
Giovanni Allegretti

The emergence of new city platforms on the international stage: The imperative of reconfiguring the ecosystem of networks
Maruxa Cardama

Challenges for a new global governance: city networks on the international stage

We need to rethink the global governance model in order to build a future for our communities
Emilia Saiz

Towards networked governance systems for development
Johannes Krassnitzer

Networks of cities or networked cities? Eight theses
Felip Roca

The role of new city platforms

C40 Cities: mayors taking ambition to the next level
Emmanuelle Pinault

100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation
Lina Liakou

A view from Madrid City Council
Arnau Gutiérrez Camps

How to move towards complementarity between networks

Entangled: A reflection on the current state of the ecosystem of local government networks
Octavi de la Varga Mas

The future of city networks
Anna Lisa Boni

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

MedCities: The network of Mediterranean cities and metropolitan areas working for urban sustainable development
Xavier Tiana


City diplomacy in the postmodern era: Networks flourish, territories wither?
Eva Garcia-Chueca

D.L.: B 13390-2019


  • Agustí Fernández de Losada Passols


    Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Global Cities Programme


  • Hannah Abdullah

    Hannah ABDULLAH

    Senior Research Fellow and Research Coordinator