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Count of city networks finds more than 200 groups

(Pasko Maksim/

The era of city networks has arrived.

Michele Acuto writes in Nature that coalitions that bring together urban leaders are on the rise because they facilitate idea sharing and public-private partnerships. They’ve nearly quadrupled in number since 1985, when there were 55 such groups, the article says. Now there are more than 200.

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, the World Health Organization’s Healthy Cities, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the C40 Cities Climate Leadesrhip Group are among the most prominent formal networks. But there are dozens of smaller ones with either a thematic or regional focus.

City networks are gaining favor as collaborations with national governments and international policy frameworks increasingly falter, writes Acuto, an urban theory professor at University College London.

In the most glaring example, cities have struggled to secure participation at the U. N.’s Habitat III conference on urbanism this month. Learn more here and here

The article is part of a special edition of Nature that includes stories on boosting the resilience of small- and mid-sized cities and finding room for the next billion people. 


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