World Cities is a project of the European Union managed by the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission. The project originates in a Preparatory Action of the European Parliament to promote the exchange of experience and best practice between the European Union and non-EU countries on the theme of territorial development with particular reference to urban development, urban-rural partnership and urban cross-border cooperation.

The project facilitates the exchange of information and good practices on regional and urban development policy issues. Cooperation is based on the identification of pilot regions and cities and the development of concrete actions, for implementation in the short-term, in areas including urban innovation (smart-city) and green technologies (energy efficiency, low carbon development). Intervention areas will be decided by the involved cities/regions, with strong support of the project team, and in coordination with the EU Commission (DG REGIO), the EU Delegations in the respective countries and national authorities of the non-EU countries where relevant.

The World Cities project will prepare, run, and evaluate working meetings in the EU, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam. The programme will also launch a collaborative online platform to facilitate the exchange of information and good practices between EU and non-EU cities. Project cities will cooperate based on similarities between their thematic areas, experiences, and goals; communication with all cities in the exchange provides additional opportunities for collaboration and potential for new ideas.

The key events of the World Cities project include:

  • Selecting EU and non-EU cities for implementing twinning schemes during 2017 – 2018.
  • Implementing one-week working meetings in the non-EU countries for five delegates from each participating EU city. This working meetings will include field visits in which European cities visit their pairing cities for a more in-depth discussion of their shared topics. Scheduled date: March/April/May 2017.
  • After a period of decentralized cooperation among the cities, follow-up working meetings will be held in pairing cities in the European Union. The working meetings will be designed for four delegates from each Non-EU pairing city. These working meetings will be followed by field visits in which Non-EU cities visit their European partners. Date: October/November 2017.
  • After 3-4 months, closing meetings will be held in the non-EU cities. Date: First quarter 2018.

Actions will be designed to increase so-called ‘triple-helix cooperation’ between governments, research and business. World Cities ultimate goal is to strengthen market opportunities and job creation while pursuing the sustainable economic development of the cities involved, thus fostering win-win cooperation.