Stronger, fairer, greener cities
for prosperous urban societies

In this century, towns and cities, rather than nation states, shape the world's social, environmental, cultural, technological and economic agendas. This process will lead to increased competition for human, intellectual and material resources but will also force cities to co-operate with and learn from one another. Established in 2003, the City Mayors Foundation works with large and small communities from across the world in their strive to strengthen social equality, build a sustainable future and obtain the resources to withstand natural and man-made disasters. The City Mayors Foundation campaigns against any kind of corruption in local government. It recognises the role women play in city halls and seeks to increase the number of women mayors. IN GREATER DETAIL

The winners of the World Mayor Prize
and Awards 2023

The winners of the 2023 World Mayor Prize and the World Mayor Community, Friendship and Jury Awards
Elke Kahr, Mayor of Graz, Austria has been awarded the 2023 World Mayor Prize for her selfless dedication to her city and its people, as city councillor and mayor. Mayor Kahr has proven that citizen-orientated (bürgernahe) local politics can be compelling and successful. Her decision to share a large part of her salary with people in need has attracted worldwide admiration. DETAILS Tony Keats, Mayor of Dover, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada has been given the 2023 World Mayor Community Award for his extraordinary service to his town and its people since 1996. He has shown that mayors from small communities can become role models for civic leaders everywhere. DETAILS Stefan Fassbinder, Mayor of Greifswald, Germany, has been given the 2023 World Mayor Friendship Award for his and the City of Greifswald's cooperation with and support of communities in Ukraine, Poland and Brazil. The Mayor, together with many of his fellow citizens, has also provided generous assistance to refugees arriving from war-torn Ukraine DETAILS Manuel De Araújo, Mayor of Quelimane, Mozambique, has been given the 2023 World Mayor Jury Award for his defence of democratic values in his country and his ambitious plans and initiatives to make Quelimane one of the most sustainable cities in Africa DETAILS


Japanese mayors
Japanese mayors
Updated after Tokyo elections held on 7 July 2024

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy by GDP and 10th largest country by population, is a unitary state, governed at national level by a Prime Minister and Cabinet largely chosen from the bi-cameral National Diet. The two-tier local government system in Japan is composed of 47 prefectural governments (roughly akin to a county), each headed by a directly-elected Governor (elected on a four-year term) and 1,719 municipalities, each headed by a directly-elected Mayor (elected likewise). IN JAPANESE MAYORS

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British mayorsEnglish city and
regional mayors

Updated after local and regional elections held on 2 May 2024

Local government in England
In London and several metropolitan areas, England’s cities are led by elected Mayors. At the same time, all but 13 of the 296 local councils in England are run by a Council Leader elected by their fellow councillors. Since 2002, many have been led by mayors elected directly by local voters. Most of the local authority-elected mayors in England have responsibility for all local services, with two district council mayors responsible for only environment, planning and housing. In London and the mostly metropolitan area Combined Authorities, the mayor is responsible for transport, economic development, skills and spatial planning, and other fields as devolved. All of England’s elected mayors were previously elected for four-year terms by the instant run-off Supplementary Vote, from 2023 this has been by a simple majority (‘First Past the Post’). There are no elected mayors in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. BRITISH MAYORS

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Mayors and politicsWorld Mayors, their
parties and politics

Even after the reassertion of the nation-state amid multiple global crises, policy interest in city mayors and their impact on most people’s lives remains undiminished, with planetary urbanisation as a megatrend continuing apace. It is well understood that by 2050 over two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, with a city the size of Stockholm added to the planet each week. But who even gets to govern the actual City of Stockholm and how? In this occasional survey (2009, 2011, 2014, 2018 and now 2023), City Mayors examines the impact of partisan politics on how city leaders are chosen in the world’s largest cities and what trends have emerged over this period. MAYORS AND POLITICS

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American women mayorsWomen mayors in America
Of the 125 American cities with more than 200,000 residents, 43 (34%) are governed by women mayors. Cities with female leaders include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and Boston. Of the 43 cities, only ten have Republican mayors. Some 29 cities are led by Democrats, while four mayors are independents. Acquanetta Warren of Fontana (CA), who assumed office in 2010, is the longest-serving female mayor among cities with more than 200,000 people. Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, followed her husband as mayor in 2011, while Nancy Vaughn became Mayor of Greensboro (NC) in 2013. LIST OF US WOMEN MAYORS

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Canadian mayorsCanadian mayors
In Canada cities and towns are considered creatures of provincial and territorial governments, existing by provincial and territorial legislation. Provinces and territories can create, modify, or eliminate a municipality as they see fit such as amalgamations and the creation of regional governments. They also dictate the limits of the powers of municipal governments. For the most part, serving as the Chief Executive of the city and Chair of council, Canadian mayors are given the title His Worship or Her Worship in English and Son Honneur in French for both males and females. CANADIAN MAYORS


US cities to receive trillion of dollarsWashington to provide trillions
to America’s towns and cities

The US federal government has dramatically increased financial assistance to local government in response to events that, while national and international in nature, can cause real economic hardship, environmental damage and social uncertainty in towns and cities across the country. A number of Acts, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, are designed to provide trillions of dollars for America’s local communities. The funding presents a once-in-a-century chance for US mayors to transform their cities - if mayors can seize the opportunity. FUNDING US CITIES

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Killing of Mexican mayorsThe killing of Mexican mayors
Since 2005, when Fernando Chávez López, municipal president of Buenavista Tomatlán, Michoacán was shot dead by three hitmen, the killings of mayors, other local government officers and politicians as well as journalist and business people in Mexico have been relentless. According to City Mayors Research, during the course of four presidencies, some 102 mayors, substitute mayors and mayors-elect were killed. In separate research, Nexos Magazine recorded some 200 mayoral killings between 2005 and the end of 2018, a figure that includes former mayors. Most killings are carried out by criminal gangs and drug cartels who often seek to eliminate honest public servants. MURDERED MAYORS MEXICO

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Cities in Eastern Europe first
to help refugees from Ukraine

Since the beginning of the war in February 2022, the countries bordering and closest to Ukraine have recorded almost 2.5 million refugees. For the masses of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, the cities in Eastern Europe, particularly those close to the border, have offered immediate humanitarian aid. But with unprecedented and fast-evolving emergency needs and dwindling public resources – mayors have asked for far greater support from national, regional and international sources. UKRAINE WAR

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Murdered mayors
of the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte, the former Mayor of Davao and Philippine President from 2016 to 2022, began his “war on drugs” virtually as soon as he was sworn into office in June 2016. By the end of his presidency, his campaign, which was largely modelled on his approach to illegal narcotics as Mayor of Davao, claimed tens of thousands of lives. Among the victims were 28 mayors and vice mayors, most of them killed by unidentified gunmen. Others were shot dead by police officers, some even while in police custody. The country’s Catholic leaders called the campaign a “reign of terror”. MURDERED MAYORS PHILIPPINES

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US Supreme Court vs city hallsAmerican mayors and
the use of mass media

US mayors and other elected officials need the mass media to spread information, and the media need politicians for content. With the rise of electronic communications, many American mayors have struggled to negotiate their symbiotic relationship with the media. The Internet and social media present challenges, but there are constants that pertain to all media platforms, new and old. By recognizing these constants, mayors can help their keep their relations with the media on solid ground. MAYORS AND MASS MEDIA

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Corrupt American mayors
Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society
The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades brought to justice thousands of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. The FBI archive currently allows access to more than 3,800 cases of corruption by members of local, state and federal government as well as by officers in the police and fire services.  Among convicted city leaders are mayors of some of the largest US cities, including Dallas, San Diego, Charlotte, Nashville, Detroit, New Orleans and Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America. CORRUPT AMERICAN MAYORS

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South American female mayorsSouth America has
few women mayors

Women are grossly underrepresented at the top of local government in the majority of South American cities. The latest research by City Mayors reveals that, across the continent, only just over eleven per cent of large cities have female mayors. Earlier research covering Latin America, including Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeans, identifies some 15 per cent of towns and cities with women mayors. In 2022, City Mayors Research visited 80 cities with populations of more than 500,000 and found that only nine (11.25%) had female mayors. WOMEN MAYORS IN SOUTH AMERICA

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German mayorsGerman Mayors
Germany is a country made up of thousands of towns and cities, all with directly elected mayors. A city (Großstadt) is officially defined as an administration unit with a population greater than 100,000. As of 2020 there are 80 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in Germany. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in most larger cities. The salaries of German mayors are linked to those of senior civil servants (Beamte) and vary from state to state. Mayors of large cities are paid more than those of smaller communities. GERMAN MAYORS

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American cities of violencePolicing alone cannot rid
American cities of violence

“We are a society that is awash in guns,” notes Ralph Richard Banks, a professor at Stanford Law School and leading researcher of crime in the US. Americans comprise just over 4 per cent of the total world population but account for 50 per cent of the world’s civilian-owned firearms. And Americans’ gun ownership is increasing: the two highest years of gun sales in US history were 2020 and 2021. “I find it difficult to imagine creating the sort of safe communities we want so long as such weapons are so plentiful,” says Banks. Between 2019 and 2020, murders rose 34 per cent in cities with a population of 250,000 or more, 20 per cent in suburban areas, and 19.7 per cent in rural areas. More than three-quarters of murders were committed with firearms. The number of gun assaults also rose nationwide. AMERICAN POLICING

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US Supreme Court versus American cities
Local government weakened
by US Supreme Court rulings

The United States Supreme Court concluded its 2021-2022 term in July with three controversial rulings. The Court ended a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion; it limited the ability of the federal government to regulate certain pollutants; and it limited the ability of local governments to place restrictions on citizens’ carrying concealed firearms in public. The Supreme Court decision will affect how local governments can protect their environment in ways that often are not considered. For example, local responsibility for garbage pickups, street cleaning, and parks has heightened local governments’ awareness of the costs of pesticide use and nonbiodegradable products like plastic bags. IN GREATER DETAIL

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Italian mayorsItalian mayors
and their salaries

Mayors play a central role in Italian national life and are a settled feature of the political system. The more than 7,900 communes are each headed by a mayor (sindaco) and elected council (consiglio comunale) of between 15 and 80 members. Italy’s mayors receive salaries which correspond to the size of their communities. Mayors of towns and villages with less than 1,000 inhabitants receive €1,290 (US$1,313) per month, while mayors of cities with a population of above 500,000 are paid €7,800 (US$7,940). The mayors of Rome and Milan earn above €9,000 (US$9,650) a month. In June 2022, local elections took place in some 980 municipalities, 26 of which were provincial, regional capitals and/or metropolitan centres. The centre-right and right-wing parties suffered losses, while the centre-left made gains. ITALIAN MAYORS

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American mayors abotion rightsAmerican mayors defend
women’s right to abortion

American mayors reacted with dismay to the US Supreme Court’s decision to curtail women’s rights to safe and legal abortions. The US Conference of Mayors (USCM), which represents the majority of mayors of larger cities, said that in the morning of 25 June 2022, American women woke up with one less constitutional right. The consequences of this decision will be felt in cities nationwide, where women will suffer from the loss of access to critical healthcare services, where they face state abortion bans that do not include exemptions for rape or incest. Madison (Wisconsin) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said: “The US Supreme Court has taken away away the right to abortion for millions. In doing so, they are now allowing state governments to force people, including minors and victims of rape and incest, to give birth.” ABORTION RIGHTS

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Germany's green citiesGermany's greenest cities
Green spaces dominate
Germany’s largest cities

Almost 70 per cent of the land areas of Germany’s largest cities are devoted to parks, woodlands, fields and private gardens. With green spaces making up 86 per cent of its urban area, Siegen, in North-Rhine Westphalia, is the ‘greenest’ German city. Ludwigshafen, home to BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, is the least green of Germany’s 79 Großstädte, cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. There are 17 cities where green spaces make up 80 per cent or more of their land areas. The list of 17 includes university cities like Aachen, Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Münster. The German capital Berlin is placed 63rd in the overall table, while Hamburg, Munich and Cologne are ranked 39th, 74th and 65th respectively. GREEN CITIES GERMANY

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Mass killings in American citiesMassacres in schools, homes
and churches will not change
America’s deadly gun culture

Deadly shootings in schools, homes, churches or shopping malls do not deter Americans from buying and owning guns. American gun owners possess some 400 million weapons, accounting for nearly half the privately owned guns in the entire world. according to a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based organisation. The US ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, up from 88 per 100 in 2011, is higher than in any other country in the world. Indeed, since the mass shootings in Buffalo (New York) and Uvalde (Texas) in May 2022 sales of semi-automatic AR-15 guns have surged. MASS SHOOTINGS USA

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City of London CorporationThe City of London: History,
feudalism and global finance

The landmarks of the area covered by the historic City of London Corporation are known to many – St Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, the ‘Gherkin’, the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ and the ‘Cheesegrater’, to name a few – but less is known about the ancient ‘Corporation’ itself. The City of London can also sometimes be confused with Greater London (the region covered by the Greater London Authority), but the two areas are entirely distinct and separate. Often simply referred to as ‘The City’, it has long been shorthand for the UK’s financial services sector.

The area of the City of London was first settled by the Romans and is governed by the City of London Corporation, which acts as the local authority for its jurisdiction. Gradually, the City of London established itself as the ‘capital’ of England, though Parliament and the Civil Service (Whitehall) are all based in the neighbouring City of Westminster. The Corporation and its practices have their origins as far back as 1111, it regards itself as “the oldest local authority in England”. CITY OF LONDON

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American mayors and their salariesAmerican mayors
and their salaries

There are some 19,500 municipal governments in the United States. More than eighty per cent of American citizens now live in large cities, suburbs of cities, or towns. People’s needs – from police to sanitation, education to fire protection, housing and public transportation – are seen to, most directly, by city governments. Following the November 2021 elections, some 70 per cent of the 84 largest US cities are governed by Democrat mayors. Republican mayors rule in 20 per cent of US cities. More than two thirds of large US cities are still governed by male mayors. Salaries paid by large US cities to their mayors vary greatly. The Mayor of San Francisco (population 837,000) receives more than $350,000 per annum, while Oklahoma City (population 611,000) pays its mayor only $24,000 a year. AMERICAN MAYORS

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Women mayors in EuropeEurope lacks women mayors
There are very few female mayors in cities across Europe. Just under 17 per cent of the continent’s largest cities have women - elected or appointed - as their leaders. In Northern Europe almost one third of mayors are female, while in Southern Europe the percentage of women as leaders of local government is below nine per cent. Norway is the only country in Europe where most of the mayors of larger towns and cities are women. In Italy and Greece, no women have been elected as heads of large cities. In addition to Norway, individual countries with an above average number of female mayors include Finland, France and Switzerland. WOMEN MAYORS IN EUROPE

Europe's most powerful female mayors
While the total number of women mayors across Europe is deplorably low, some of the continent’s politically, economically and culturally most important cities have female leaders. Paris and Berlin are now governed by women. Women are also in charge in a number of smaller capital cities as well as in municipalities of national and international importance including Barcelona, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lodz, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Cologne and Sofia. Europe’s longest-serving female mayors include Martine Aubry, Lille, since 2001; Aino-Maija Luukkonen, Pori, since 2004; Corine Mauch, Zurich, since 2009 and Hanna Zdanowska, Lodz, since 2010.

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Japanese local governmentLocal government in Japan
In a country more recently associated with a spate of natural disasters and decades of economic slump ahead of hosting of the deferred Olympic Games in 2021, the Japanese system of local government has bedded down well with the guarantee of local autonomy enshrined in its post-war constitution. As with other historic aspects of Japanese society, there remains an appreciable level of civic pride among many people and interest in community affairs remains strong.Japan’s system of local government, in place for over 70 years, is relatively straightforward to understand, though it does not hit the headlines outside of Japan very often and is therefore not understood by many in the local government community internationally. JAPAN

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UK local governmentLocal government in the UK
History and many post-war reforms
shape local government in the UK

There is no single pattern of local government in the United Kingdom. Instead arrangements vary in the four ‘home nations’ of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, Wales and urban England, with the exception of London, single-tier unitary authorities provide all local services, whereas non-metropolitan England is served by a two-tier system split between district and county councils. Local government in the United Kingdom is a settled feature of the constitutional architecture and has long acted as an agency of the state in order to fulfil many of the functions required by central government to ameliorate social problems throughout the years. The need for a comprehensive system of local authorities arose alongside the expansion in the population of urban centres around the time of the Industrial Revolution. UNITED KINGDOM

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Local government in Ireland
Irish with a British accent
Local government in the Republic of Ireland predates its national political structures, with the constitutional arrangements laid down under British rule in the late nineteenth century largely remaining in place. Ireland’s local government arrangements consisted until recently of 29 county and county borough councils with a set of smaller town and in some cases borough councils at the sub-tier. A big bang reorganisation in 2014 saw this number streamlined and flattened into 31 all-purpose local authorities through a series of mergers, in response to Ireland’s recent economic and political crisis. IRELAND

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Local government
Local government:
Powers and Politics

A plethora of city leadership models exist across Europe, depending on history and political culture, though the challenges facing urban areas are mostly identical. While in France, Spain, Greece and Portugal the mayor is head of the party list on the council, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands mayors are appointed by the central government for a six-year term. In Germany, mayors are directly elected, as are all metro mayors in England. In many European countries mayors enjoy considerable powers and their responsibilities cover a wide array of day-to-day activities as well as longterm projects such as health, education, policing, environment and culture. LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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A quarter of capital cities
are led by women mayors

While it is estimated that internationally less than 15 per cent of mayors are women – some research studies put the figure even lower – a quarter of the world’s capital cities are led by women. In Europe, capitals like Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Oslo and Stockholm have female mayors, while in Africa, Dakar, Freetown, Tunis, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Rabat are led by women. In Latin America, some of the largest capital cities, such as Mexico City, Caracas, Bogota and Montevideo have women mayors. Asian capitals with women leaders include Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

In 2021, women assumed the post of mayors in Accra, Addis Ababa, Berlin, Dublin, Luanda, Nairobi, Rabat, Santiago de Chile, Sarajevo, and Skopje. (Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome from 2016 to 2021, failed to be re-elected in October.) The list of longest-serving female leaders includes the mayors of Sydney (since 2004), Zurich (since 2009), Sofia (since 2011) and Paris (since 2014). WOMEN MAYORS

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Polish mayorsPolish local government
and mayors of largest cities

Since 1999, Poland has been divided into provinces, counties and districts. The 19 provinces (voivodeships) represent the highest-level of local government. They are mostly named after historical or geographical regions. Provincial powers are shared between a governor, a regional parliament and a marshal. While the mayors (presidents) of Poland’s largest and third-largest cities are women, overall, only 11 of the country’s 107 municipalities have female leaders. Two of them are in their fourth term of office. Gdansk Mayor Aleksndra Dulkiewicz was elected in March 2019, after the murder of her predecessor Pawel Adamowics. POLISH MAYORS

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Local government
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American mayors and their salaries
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European mayors: Power and Politics
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Code of Ethics for mayors