Chicago Forum on Global Cities Chicago Forum on Global Cities
Metropolitan Governance

Enriching the metropolitan governance debate in North America

Metropolis collaborated for the first time with the Chicago Forum on Global Cities, whose latest edition took place between last June 6 and 8, as one of its knowledge partners. A Metropolis delegation – composed of the representatives of two of our Mexican members (Mexico City and Tijuana), our Secretary General and our Focal Point for North America – travelled to the third most populous city in the United States to contribute to the event’s discussions on metropolitan governance, urban diplomacy, security challenges and inclusive growth.

Convened by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the forum offered a wide variety of plenary sessions, flash talks and workshops, generating many opportunities for representatives of local governments, the academia, think tanks and institutions from all over the world to exchange experiences, raise provocative questions, share knowledge and know-how to demonstrate how cities are able to solve global challenges.

The event kicked off with a mayoral round table with 14 current and former mayors from around the globe, among whom the Mayor of Tijuana and member of the Metropolis Board of Directors, Juan Manuel Gastelum, participated at the discussion about inclusive growth. This discussion was co-chaired by the Mayor of Chicago, Mr Emmanuel Rahm, and the Director of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mr Ivo Daalder.

Metropolitan governance was one of the major themes among the myriad of topics addressed during the forum. The Metropolis Secretary General, Octavi de la Varga, along with Claudio Orrego, former Governor of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile, Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zurich and Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities in Australia, participated at a plenary session about the challenges to manage a world where more than half of the urban population lives in metropolitan spaces, whose models of governance may vary a lot. “We no longer know where each city starts and ends. And many times, the institutional reality does not necessarily correspond to the trends of urbanization. Where do the responsibilities of a city government start and end, as its citizens might be living there, but commuting most of their days to neighboring cities?”, our Secretary General pondered.



In addition, the Mayor of Tijuana and the Metropolis Secretary General actively participated as speakers of two different workshops. At the workshop “Security in the Age of Cities”, Juan Manuel Gastelum shared possible solutions and practices to security challenges that are, inevitably, a matter of metropolitan governance. Octavi de la Varga, in turn, participated as a speaker of a workshop which covered the ways in which urban diplomacy was understood and implemented. Moreover, the discussion garnered the insights from different perspectives on how and why cities should collaborate through networks and what could be the processes and tools to develop a global strategy towards a collective action. In this regard, our Secretary General highlighted the importance of incorporating the participation in local governments’ networks such as Metropolis into each government’s very own internationalization strategy.

The Metropolis presence in the event was reinforced by Mariana Flores, International Affairs Advisor of the Government of Mexico City and our Regional Secretary for North America, who, along with Teresa Oliver, Focal Point for North America at the Secretariat General, facilitated the organization of meetings with potential new members and partners in the region.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a leading center for studying the influence of cities in solving global challenges and shaping the world’s future. With over a decade of research and programming on global cities, the Council examines the policies needed to be successful, identifies global best practices, connects leaders, and provides concrete recommendations to decision-makers. The next Chicago Forum on Global Cities will take place from June 5th to 7th, 2019. For more information, please visit