city diplomacy

Cities can spend a fortune on branding and promotional slogans – but they don't always go to plan. Edinburgh's attempts to rebrand as "Incredinburgh", at a reported cost of £300,000, were scrapped. The city of Leeds got some stick a while back when it was noticed that "Leeds. Live it. Love it" bore a startling resemblance to "Hong Kong. Live it. Love it!" (The advertising agency insisted it had come up with the slogan independently.)

When my guide picked me up at the airport, she told me Bogota is a business city, not a tourist city. While she was an enthusiastic host and seemed to know everything else about her hometown, I had to disagree with her on this one.

The seventh session of the World Urban Forum, started Saturday, is set to discuss a wide range of urban issues facing the world today inColombia’s second largest city and 2013′s most innovative city of the year, Medellin.

Cities are the future of the world. Over half the world's population lives in cities, and by the middle of the century more than seven in 10 people will live in cities, according to the United Nations. Almost all this urban growth will take place in emerging economies.

It was a big family reunion as more than 300 people from Chinese and US sister cities and sister provinces and states got together on Wednesday evening at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. Participants came from all parts of the two nations, such as Qinghai province in Northwest China and Fort Worth, Texas, for the US-China Sister Cities Conference in Washington on March 26-28.

"Ballot" is not originally an English word: It comes from the Venetian word ballotta, or "little ball." For centuries, councils elected the Doge of Venice, who ruled the city-state, with small silver and gold balls. Now Venetians have put their modern equivalent to good use in a bid to declare independence from Italy. And they have a pretty good case to make for restoring their once-mighty republic.

If Garcetti had been speaking French on a diplomatic mission to Paris, he might have been harangued — or even hanged — for his errors. But Mexicans tend not to be such purists, and they have built up decades of tolerance for visitors from El Norte mangling their mother tongue.

L.A. is a global city and so is our city's economy, which is why I'm in Mexico City right now on my first trade mission as Mayor. I am joined here by representatives of our Port, Airport, and Tourism & Convention Board as well as a business delegation organized by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce.