City Networks

The networked frontier of city leadership

In a time of uncertain national politics and shifting global markets, the new frontier of city leadership might be one that extends across boundaries, continents and geopolitical divides. Cities are now more connected than ever before on a global scale: it is hard to think of major global hubs in isolation today, whilst worldwide challenges like climate change, nationalism or economic turmoil affect cities big and small irrespective of state borders. This is a frontier that is increasingly tangible, as cities mobilise to form partnerships with peers in what have been called “city networks”.

Project Contact

Project Partners


Acuto, M., & Leffel, B. (2021). “Understanding the global ecosystem of city networks”Urban Studies58(9).

Acuto, M., Robin, E., Setzer, J. (2018) "Politics of an Urban Age", special issue of Palgrave Communications 4 (2)

Curtis, S., & Acuto, M. (2018). "The Foreign Policy of Cities" The RUSI Journal, 163(6): 8-17

Leffel, B., & Acuto, M. (2018). Economic Power Foundations of Cities in Global GovernanceGlobal Society 32(3): 281-301.

Acuto, M. (2016) “Give Cities a Seat at the Top TableNature News 537: 611-13.

Acuto, M. and Rayner, S. (2016) “City networks: breaking lock-ins?International Affairs 92 (5): 1230-45.

Sydney Morning Herald (June 2017) – “Should Sydney and Melbourne have their own foreign policies?

Politico (June 2017) – “Why Cities Need Their Own Foreign Policies"

Financial Times (June 2017) – “Climate pledge shows how cities bypass national governments