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City Mayors Foundation

Vienna’s Social Democrats
win election with message
of tolerance and humanity

News (Austria):
Despite loosing five percentage points, Vienna’s Social Democrats expressed relief when first results showed that they were the clear winner in Sunday’s municipal elections. Right up to polling day, opinion surveys predicted a very tight outcome between the centre-left party, which had governed the Austrian capital since 1945, and the populist, rightwing Freedom Party. MORE
leader ponders run
for Mayor of Rome

News (Italy):
Beppe Grillo, the unpredictable leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, emerged as one of the contenders for Mayor of Rome after Ignazio Marino, the incumbent mayor, suddenly resigned last week. Grillo has been one of the fiercest critics of the outgoing mayor and pundits say he would stand a good chance of being elected, should he choose to run for mayor. MORE

One hundred million homeless people own less than one man
Research 2015:
Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, owns more than all the homeless people on earth combined. The British charity organisation Oxfam recently found that the founder of Microsoft was worth US$76 billion, while, together, the 100 million homeless are estimated to own less than $3 billion worth of goods. The 80 richest billionaires have the same amount of wealth than the bottom 50 per cent of the world’s population MORE
European cities
with the largest
Muslim populations

Research 2015: The Pew Research Center found that the number of Muslims in Europe, excluding Turkey but including countries like Albania and Kosovo, totalled 44 million or six per cent of the European population. The number of Muslims in European Union countries was approximately 19 million. The majority of Muslims originate from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey or the Maghreb countries and, more recently, from the war-torn Middle East. MORE

New Labour Party leader proposes stronger
local councils and a ‘National Education Service’

Politics: Following a campaign, which shattered all known rules of British politics, the socialist Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of the UK Labour Party with 59 per cent of party members’ votes on an anti-austerity platform.  Some of Corbyn’s policy ideas which have attracted the most media attention include abolishing the British royal family, handing the Falkland Islands back to Argentina, uniting Ireland and leaving NATO, as well as scrapping the UK’s nuclear deterrent.  However, he has pledged to unite his beleaguered party and asked other factions to respect his historic landslide victory.  Corbyn has since announced a new top team and given some clues to his likely urban policy. MORE

American cities use knowledge
technology to reduce urban stress

Technology: “Platform” is one of the current trendy words in American English. It is a generic term for the operating system of a computer. But it is also a metaphor for a stage upon which a person or an organization can rise above the commonplace and engage with people in a meaningful way. In the United States, the current fashion in public administration is to view local government as a platform, and progressive mayors as leaders who can build that platform. Based not on the traditional means of citizen participation - volunteerism, voting, public meetings - government as platform relies on technology to engage people. Its point of departure is the idea that data are a vital resource, which can empower people by allowing them to create their own solutions. MORE

Mayors weigh up pros and cons
as drones take off across America

Society: When the City Council of Ferndale, Michigan, near Detroit, proposed a law in April 2015 banning the use of drones on public property in response to the privacy concerns of some city residents, a public outcry forced council members to withdraw the ordinance. Residents with privacy concerns were far outnumbered by residents who believed that restricting the use of drones would “crush the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that the drone era is ushering in,” in the words of one person who spoke to the Ferndale City Council at a public hearing about the proposed legislation. MORE

Mayors of Germany's
largest municipalities

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 2013, there are 76 cities in Germany. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Nine cities have a population of more than 500,000 people. The mayors’ terms of office vary between five and nine years, depending on the state. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister  - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in most larger cities. MORE

Songs written for
American cities

Culture: It is said there is a song for every city in America. While some songs never got much further than the city limits others became international hits. Gerard Kenny’s 1978 ode to his hometown ‘New York, New York - So Good They Named It Twice’ spelled the re-birth of America’s largest metropolis after it almost went bankrupt in 1975 and one year after a city-wide blackout shut it down for 25 hours. The song ‘If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair’ sung by Scott McKenzie in 1967 became the anthem for the worldwide flower power movement. MORE

World mayors, their
parties and politics

Politics: The narrative of the global pattern of urbanization is that we are said to live in the ‘urban century’ and the ‘age of the mayor’. Current affairs weeklies nod with approval at mayor-centred urban analysis by Richard Florida, Benjamin Barber and Bruce Katz – city rankings now enjoy the kind of media glow once reserved for corporate giants. But who gets to govern the world’s biggest cities? City Mayors examines the shifts in urban political allegiances and party machines over the past five years. MORE

Local government in Kosovo:
Elected mayors are the key

Government: Kosovo became the most recent territory in Europe to claim the status of nation state when it declared independence in 2008. The credibility of any democratic nation depends on the strength of the institutions it builds, notably its capacity to meet citizens’ demands for service delivery and accountability. To this end, Kosovo has embarked on a process of enhancing the performance capacity of government by decentralizing power from the national level to the municipal level. Decentralization is considered a tool to deliver results shaped by local needs and market realities, engage citizens in decision making, and bridge ethnic divisions. And directly-elected mayors assume a primary role in helping ensure accountability, transparency and responsibility. MORE

Latin American cities are the
most dangerous in the world

Crime: Latin America's cities are the most dangerous in the world. Drug trafficking, gang wars, political instability, corruption, and poverty combine are the main causes of the continent’s extreme urban violence. Residents of cities in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are particularly at risk of being caught up in battles between warring gangs. For the third year running, San Pedro Sula, a city of some 720,000 people in northern Honduras is thought to be the most dangerous city in the world with 187 murders per 100,000 inhabitants per annum. MORE

Mayors of Canada's
largest municipalities

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. MORE

Mayors of Japan's
largest municipalities

Mayors: Japan, the world’s third-largest economy by GDP and 10th largest population, is a unitary state, governed at national level by a Prime Minister and Cabinet largely chosen from the bicameral 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). MORE

Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society

Politics: 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 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 investigated hundreds of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. Among those convicted are leaders of some of the largest US cities, including Detroit, New Orleans or Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America. MORE

Mayors of France's
largest municipalities

Mayors: Mainland France consists of 36,569 municipalities (communes) in 22 regions. In addition there are 212 communes in French overseas territories. Council elections are held every six years. The last one was held in March 2014. The first task of a newly constituted council is to elect a mayor, whose term of office is six years. If a mayor is appointed to another post in government, a deputy performs his/her duties. A mayor’s responsibilities include: Civil registration, culture, economy, education, environment, public order, roads, social welfare, urban planning. The Socialist Anne Hilgo is the Mayor of Paris. MORE

Increasing number of US cities
end stigmatization of ex-felons

Society: The US government’s War on Drugs began in the 1970s. Drug possession and use were seen as gateways to crimes such as burglary, robbery, assault and prostitution, as well as to the breakdown of families and neighborhoods. Prisoners of the federal War on Drugs received draconian prison sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, and no parole for nonviolent and victimless crimes. By the 1990s, with crime continuing to rise, a ‘zero tolerance’ mentality overtook American criminal justice. Schools, public housing, and workplaces aimed to be totally free of crimes and criminals. Application forms for a wide range of opportunities increasingly asked whether the applicant had been convicted of a crime. Checking the ‘yes’ box most often meant an applicant would never be considered, regardless of his or her qualifications. MORE

US mayors look to education
in response to school violence

Society: The 16-year-old boy who on 9 April 2014 stabbed and slashed 21 of his fellow students in a school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be tried as an adult. Law enforcement officials have no choice; the law requires the young offender to be accorded adult status. The response to repeated incidents of school violence in the United States over the past 20 years has led to ‘hard’ solutions. Simultaneously, with much less fanfare, another type of response has been growing quietly. Public schools in at least 30 states now promote ‘character education’ as an anecdote to safety concerns, as well as troubling issues like teen pregnancy, truancy, and poor academic performance. MORE

Tokyo promotes cool image
in run-up to 2020 Olympics

City Branding: The name alone of Japan’s metropolis underlines its historic and political significance: Tokyo, or ‘eastern capital’. Having relocated the seat of government from the ‘western capital’ Kyoto to the ancient port of Edo in the 19th century at the behest of a modernized, open and newly unified nation, it was the capital’s post-war reconstruction which was to usher in the hyper-modernity which we all associate with Tokyo. Within Japan however, such modernity is often seen as a byword for inauthenticity or assimilation of the west. The Tokyo city brand is one of the world’s most embedded yet least studied. MORE

A second tier of US metro areas
is attracting mobile Americans

Society: America is known as a mobile society, and Americans move for many reasons: better jobs, better weather, lower housing costs, lower taxes, and so on. The trend to urbanization is national in scope, affecting every state and almost every region of the country. General population movements between regions have also been notable, of course, the most prominent being the shift from Rustbelt in the north to Sunbelt in the south. While the general population migrations receive most of the attention, a more particular shift appears to be occurring among metro areas. Approximately 15 second-tier metro areas have become ‘centers of gravity’, attracting people and capital from other metro areas. MORE

Brighton Town Hall
City Halls: Thanks to its close proximity to London and Royal patronage throughout the 19th Century, Brighton, on the English South Coast, has developed like no other seaside resort in Britain. While towns like Eastbourne, Bournemouth or Torquay predominately cater for holidaymakers and have become favourite destinations for retirees, Brighton has developed a youth vibrancy to rival the British capital. Often described as London-on-Sea, Brighton also offers some of the finest Regency and Victorian terraces in Britain. The Town Hall, built in the 1830s, is an example of municipal pride and confidence. MORE

The largest US cities:
Nine cities with more than one million people
New York City and Los Angeles grow fastest

Population: The US has nine cities with populations topping one million. New York City, with more than eight million residents, is by far the largest US city. Los Angeles, in second place, has a population of just below four million people. Both Chicago and Houston have populations of more than two million. Other cities with more than one million citizens include Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Diego. | Introduction | Largest 1 - 100 | Largest 101 - 200 | Fastest growing | Fastest shrinking |

Megaregions are predicted to propel
US population and economic growth

Development: It’s a commonplace among urban planners and many policymakers that regions are the basic unit of economic competitiveness in the global economy. America 2050, part of the Regional Plan Association, reckons that America’s population growth and and even a larger share of the country’s economic expansion will occur in 11 megaregions. Yet nowhere in the industrialized world are regions given fewer resources and less power than in the United States. MORE

A comparison of UK
and European cities

Statistics: Almost 13 per cent of the UK population live in London. With the exception of Vienna, no other major European capital city is home to such a high proportion of its country’s citizens. Recent research by City Mayors shows that 20.2 per cent of Austrians live in Vienna, 12.9 per cent of Britons call London their home, while 12.4 per of Norwegians reside in Oslo. Helsinki, Copenhagen and Brussels also house more than ten per cent of their respective national populations. But less than five per cent of the people of France, Germany, Poland and Italy live in their respective capital cities. MORE

Flourishing cities
embrace immigrants

Society: Without migration homo sapiens would not dominate today’s world. Had our ancestors stayed in central Africa some 50,000 years ago, the human race would have developed very differently. The drive to spread out geographically, for whatever reason, is part of our make-up and is behind Man’s success story. Many recent scientific and technological advances - e.g. the telephone, the internet, space exploration - are the result of our need to move beyond local boundaries. Migration will remain a dominant feature of further human development, a fact recognised by many progressive city mayors from around the world. MORE

Directories of European
and North American cities

City Mayors' internet directories provide one-click access to the websites of European and North American cities. EUROPE | NORTH AMERICA

Urban population growth
between 1950 and 2030

Statistics: In 2008, the world reached an invisible but momentous milestone: For the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, lived in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to swell to more than five billion. Urbanisation has already surpassed the 90-per-cent mark, not only in city states like Singapore and Kuwait, but also in Belgium, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Israel and the UK. In the US, where for the past 100 years the majority of people have been living in cities, more than 82 per cent of the total population now reside in urban areas. MORE

Women in cities give much
but take far less than men

Society: Women in developing countries contribute significantly to the prosperity of cities but they are often the last to benefit. This becomes evident, a new report says, in notable gender gaps in labour and employment, pay, tenure rights, access to and accumulation of assets, personal security and safety and representation in formal structures of urban governance. The report Gender and the Prosperity of Cities recommends that cities formulate gender policies, strengthen accountability for gender equality and enhance strategies for the economic empowerment and livelihoods of women. MORE

The best cities in the world for
environment and infrastructure

Environment: Vienna has again been named as the ‘best city’ in the world, with the Austrian capital’s perennial Swiss rival, Zurich, in second place. Auckland, Munich and Vancouver complete the top five. Overall, German-speaking cities, including Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Bern, occupy six places in the top ten of this year’s Quality of Living Survey by Mercer Consulting. Paris is ranked 29th, London 38th and New York City 44th. Singapore, Frankfurt and Munich offer the best infrastructure. MORE

The City of London offers on one square mile
history, feudal governance and global finance

Government: 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’ and soon the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ and the ‘Cheesegrater’, to name but few – but less is known about the Corporation itself. The City of London is often confused with Greater London (the area covered by the Greater London Authority), but the two concepts are indeed very distinct and separate. MORE

Mumbai in urgent need of reforms
to governance and management

Government: Mumbai is one of the world's 10 most populous cities and the most populous, and wealthiest, city in India. Yet over 42 per cent of its people live in slums. The megacity has lost the capacity to deliver public services, because of negligence as well as insufficient financial and physical resources. Almost two-thirds of revenue is spent on staff and less than one third on services. There is now an urgent need to consider other management options and changes to governance. MORE

London Underground carries
three million people every day

World Metros: Heritage and modernisation are the watchwords for London’s underground rail network, the ‘tube’, as it reaches its 150th anniversary. The world’s first underground railway, between Paddington and Farringdon Street was opened by the Metropolitan Railway in December 1863. Today, London Underground carries three million passengers a day across 275 stations on its 253 mile network. MORE

The City Mayors Foundation was established in 2003 to promote, campaign for and facilitate good, open and strong local government

Vienna’s Social Democrats win election with message of tolerance and humanity

Anti-establishment leader ponders run for Mayor of Rome

US city treasurers happier than for many years but revenue growth is slowing

Osaka mayor retires to stir up once again Japanese politics

US mayors tell President they are ready to welcome thousands of refugees

German mayors welcome refugees despite the immediate challenges

Louisiana governor proposes jail for mayors of sanctuary cities

Pro-immigration stance helps Norwegian Labour Party to election victory

Munich welcomes refugees
but mayor accuses some
EU countries of selfishness

Bucharest mayor faces
charges of bribery
and profiteering

Obama and Clinton tell
US mayors to stand up
against gun lobby

Former Mexico City mayor makes comeback as leader of newly formed left-wing party

Italy’s centre-left wins most votes but loses in stronghold

Upstarts humiliate main parties in Spain’s municipal elections

Republican mayoral candidate wins surprise victory in Florida

New book explains why so many mayors in Canada ‘went bad

Bremen’s ruling party seeks new leader after the sudden resignation of the mayor

African and Asian mayors unite to promote smart cities

Mayoral elections in Bangladesh’s largest cities marred by fraud allegations

Baltimore Mayor fails to find the right words after two days of rioting