city diplomacy

In late August, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, barely two months into his first term, sat down with several of the principals of the Creative Artists Agency at their Century City offices. The meeting was short, lasting a little more than 20 minutes, but that was all Garcetti needed to get his message across. He was there to pitch his plans for a citywide “rebranding” effort and wanted to use Hollywood’s most powerful talent agency as a sounding board for his plans, if not more.

Colombia, led by its second largest city Medellin, has the most unequal urban areas in Latin America, according to the United Nations. While Latin America as a whole has been making strides to combat inequality, lowering rates of unequal income distribution across the region over the past decade, Colombia has bucked the trend, experiencing a 15 percent increase in inequality in urban areas over the last 20 years.

This post-industrial city near the Brittany coast has tried all manner of things to distinguish itself as the other important city in France. Theme-park style rides combined with public art – loads of it, literally, including a giant mechanical elephant that sashays out to a plaza with up to 30 people on its back, and playfully sprays water from its trunk at those on the ground. A memorial celebrating abolition, as a mea culpa for being a major seaport for the slave trade.

It is Tokyo, after all. It was nearly 6am when a few thousand supporters gathered at Komazawa Stadium, one of the key venues for Tokyo’s 1964 games, exploded in celebration as International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge held up the winning envelope marked “Tokyo 2020." With Madrid ousted at the first round, the Tokyo-Istanbul competition boosted the hopes of the Japanese bidders that eventually took the final vote by a large margin: 60 to 36.

Over the past few years, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings has collaborated with a wide variety of U.S. metro areas to develop localized export plans and explore the importance of increased global engagement. One of the questions frequently raised by local participants revolves around the role mayors and their associated local economic development offices can and should play in global trade and investment. Some assume this is an area private sector firms can best manage on their own.

The forces of globalization have ushered in chaotic change to metro areas around the world. It is becoming more and more difficult for a place to remain isolated from the costs and benefits of this new global order. Cities and their surrounding suburbs have no choice but to manage globalization or be managed by it.

Urbanization has already declared itself the mega-trend of the 21st century, with half the world’s population now living in cities for the first time in human history. While the implications for economic growth have been widely discussed, urbanization’s impact on diplomacy and sovereignty will be equally profound.

New York State is now the yogurt capital of the nation. The state’s chief yogurt promoter, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, claimed victory on Thursday in the battle for national yogurt supremacy, citing state data that showed New York topping California in production for 2012. Hoping to milk the announcement for all it’s worth, Mr. Cuomo’s office issued a nearly 2,100-word statement celebrating New York’s triumph.