How a Global Parliament of Cities Can Establish a Sustainable Democracy

With the growing recognition of cities as powerful engines of global cultural, social, and political innovation, urban studies and planning are the object of unprecedented attention, sourcing new findings from the most diverse fields of research. At the same time, the influence of megacities such as Tokyo and New York has long transcended regional and national borders. In this context, political theorist Benjamin R. Barber, adviser to former US-President Bill Clinton and political leaders in the US and abroad, and a bestselling author on the topics of citizenship and democracy, proposes a new global model of governance in which interdependent cities are the key players. Barber’s concept, a “parliament of mayors” stands for a worldwide, borderless democracy which has the potential to replace the concept of nation-states – “political institutions designed 400 years ago”, and unable to provide answers to the globalised problems of the 21st century. Barber’s studies show the cities’ superior capacity to deal with internal and external issues: on the one hand the non-partisan and pragmatic style of governance of mayors and local administrations; on the other hand the consolidated practice of engaging in partnerships with other cities to tackle common problems. The parliament of mayors would give cities the voice to face priorities such as terrorism, economic inequality or epidemics. At Falling Walls, Benjamin Barber explains how a worldwide network of cities could effectively react to global challenges which are not going to be solved by individual, uncooperative nation-states.

Benjamin R. Barber

City University of New York

More events with Benjamin R. Barber

More Breakthroughs

All Breakthroughs

Further Activities to have a look at

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Privacy Preference Center

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Necessary Cookies

These cookies are required to provide you with our site and its functions. Since storing these cookies is necessary for the provision of our site and its functions, you cannot disable them. If you block these cookies via you browser settings our site may not function properly.

Analyse Cookies

These cookies enable us to use website analytics in order to improve our site or provide you with personalized content. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.

Marketing Cookies

These cookies enable us to use online marketing and advertising in order to provide you on this or on other sites with personalized advertisement. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.