Cities learning together to improve local management and administration smartly

Pictures Credits: Kate Kim


On 20 June 2017, UCLG Learning supported the Metropolitan Section to hold a peer learning meeting for city managers, in the framework of its 12th World Congress in Montreal. The objective was to involve city managers, the highest appointed city officials, in the implementation of municipalities’ administrative policies, in order to enhance citizens’ quality of life.

City managers hold a position that is as important as that of the mayor, however, their roles are rarely emphasized. This was the first peer learning event organized exclusively for city managers.

Global cities, in particular Metropolises, face similar challenges in renewing public services, local economic development, concern for climate change, and social inclusion, among others. With these shared concerns, the meeting served to draw inspiration from each other through the exchange of experiences, and to build a strong learning network among city managers.

The central theme was how to make cities intelligent, by obtaining data that aids the development of efficient service provision to the territory, linked to SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”.

Thanks to the presentation of the concept of “Smart City” within the framework of good governance, the importance of ethics in the collection of data was analyzed, in particular policies related to the protection of privacy and security against piracy and misuse. 

The methodology of the UCLG peer review was applied during the session. The city of Montreal, as host of the peer review, presented good practices in the transparency of data on the management of local resources, in order to be closer to the citizen and with a view to establish an investment strategy related to the city's human capital.


As peer reviewer cities, eThekwini (Durban), the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), the Metropolitan Area of Valle Aburrá, La Paz and Seoul also presented the case of their cities to inspire other solutions in different areas: collaboration with NGOs for the protection of data, the development of a data management system, considering data security as public safety, an early warning system for managing air quality risk, and developing social welfare indicators.

After these presentations, a round table discussion took place between the participants, where it was discussed that the “smart strategy” should position the city globally, with cities key players in this process. It was also agreed that data collection and privacy should go hand in hand. It is necessary to have a vision with values to identify the future challenges of the city.

Finally, CEFG, the European Financial Management Group, showcased their example of building the learning network of local representatives in Metropolis. Using this as a reference, Metropolis and the city managers will create a strong network of practical experiences between cities and jointly explore solutions for city management.