Connective Cities: cities for sustainable development

Learning from one another is the goal of Connective Cities, the new international network of cities for sustainable development. The network started on 24 June in Leipzig.

More than half of the world’s population now live in towns and cities, and this is set to increase even further. Combating poverty and tackling environmental and traffic problems represent major challenges for many urban areas. However, they often find particularly innovative solutions, as representatives of municipalities in Germany and abroad demonstrated at the launch of Connective Cities in Leipzig. Connective Cities aims to promote sustainable urban development and give municipalities more opportunities to share their experience of innovative solutions. The network is designed to bring together practitioners from across the globe to implement good ideas on as broad a basis as possible.

‘Change doesn’t happen suddenly; it’s a process,’ Linda Mbonambi from eThekwini Municipality (Durban), South Africa, emphasised. Citizens there can play a role in shaping sustainable urban development. The municipality representatives at Leipzig all agreed that the crucial factors are a good deal of creativity plus courageous individuals prepared to push ahead with innovations. They shared their approaches on cooperating with local businesses and on climate-friendly urban development.

To foster plans for alliances for sustainable urban development, there are to be conferences, workshops, training sessions and information trips, offering a wide range of opportunities for people to expand their knowledge and to set up networks. Connective Cities provides access to experience from all over the world via a web portal.

Cities play a key role in sustainable, resource-saving global development. Connective Cities allows municipalities to discuss how closed loop systems work, how to manage transport in an environmentally compatible way and how energy efficiency can be enhanced. Another important aspect is how cities can achieve social integration and social justice.

Connective Cities is a joint venture between the Association of German Cities, the German non-profit organisation Engagement Global – Service for Development Initiatives, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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