Connective Cities – international community of practice for sustainable urban development

Project description


 Connective Cities – international community of practice for sustainable urban development

Commissioned by:

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)



Lead executing agency:

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Overall term:

2013 to 2018


Urban population growth, poverty and social segregation, huge mobility and environmental problems, climate change and effective provision of municipal services are among the urgent challenges posed by worldwide urbanisation. They call for efficient and innovative solutions to ensure sustainable urban development. In the face of global developments, cities that are inclusive, productive, efficient and resilient have to tackle transformations. These transformations can be effectively supported by means of joint learning processes.

Many strategies geared towards sustainable urban development are already in place at local level, for instance in the field of sustainable mobility, municipal and regional economic promotion, energy efficiency and good urban governance. However, although they are innovative and have proven successful, they are often not sufficiently widely known. There is also a lack of systematic access to these practice-oriented solutions and the relevant contacts.


Urban stakeholders from politics and administration, industry, science and civil society representing various regions worldwide are networked with one another at expert level. Focusing on implementation they exchange experience and good practices with regard to sustainable urban development, learn together and develop ideas for urban projects.


The project takes the form of cooperation between GIZ, the Service Agency Communities in One World, and the Association of German Cities. The implementing partners include selected regional and national associations of cities and municipalities in Africa, America, Europe and Asia and their members.

The Community of Practice uses dialogue and learning formats to mobilise German and international know-how. It

  • provides a portal for disseminating experience of practical relevance,
  • identifies and interlinks relevant actors in developing, emerging and industrialised countries,
  • promotes and moderates thematic and regional working groups,
  • facilitates exchange of information by means of international conferences, training courses, study trips and other activities,
  • supports the secondment of municipal experts to partner countries,
  • provides assistance with the drafting of concepts and funding applications for innovative projects,
  • assists in the search for funding for project ideas and
  • evaluates new project approaches to help make use of lessons learned.

Connective Cities is currently financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). At the same time, options are being examined for possible supplementary funding from interested institutions. In the medium term, the cities platform aims to be self-supporting, so the project is taking account of institutional sustainability from the outset.


Since it was officially launched in 2014, Connective Cities has mobilised more than 500 municipal actors from around 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America using over 20 dialogue and learning formats to share experience and learn together. More than 80 German municipal experts have registered in the platform's pool of experts. The Connective Cities web portal provides information and virtual services to network municipal practitioners. It has been visited by over 10,000 users. More than 30 examples of good practices have been entered in the database and are available for dissemination.

Small groups of municipal practitioners from German towns and cities have been assigned to partner countries to promote the exchange of experience at local level.