The rise of ‘foreign policy’ for global cities
As cities become more global, they’re beginning to adopt “foreign policies” tailored toward urban issues. Kathy Bergen reports for the Chicago Tribune that this “paradiplomacy” arises from cities looking beyond their borders for solutions to challenges ranging from poverty to pollution.
São Paulo, South America’s largest metropolis, exemplifies the trend. Before adding bus lanes or modernizing street lights, city leaders turn to Paris, New York, Buenos Aires and elsewhere for ideas. “Megacities are swapping information and forging powerful alliances with far-flung counterparts in new and strategic ways,” Bergen writes. Hong Kong’s trade development council operates 44 offices in cities worldwide.
Successful city-level foreign policies can pay dividends in the form of increased investment, fresh business opportunities and boosts to tourism, the article says. Other areas where cities are looking abroad include the arts and education. Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, argues that cities are less “hamstrung” by global tensions than nation-states, the Tribune reports.
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