Cross National Lesson Drawing

Urban Answers has written widely on the topic of cross national lesson drawing and is happy to provide ready access to some of these recent articles.

international insightsInternational Insights

The UK Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) for local government commissioned Urban Answers to prepare a series of five short articles (published in The MJ as well as on the IDeA website) on international lesson drawing for local government. Supported by the Local Government Association (LGA), the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), the European Association of Chief Executives (UDITE), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the European Urban Research Association (EURA) the articles provide up to date reports on bold local government innovation in Australia, Italy, Sweden and the USA. Cities featured in the series include:
• Melbourne – the transformation of the central area
• Milan – an imaginative strategic project for the entire city region
• Chicago – the excellent 311 non-emergency phone service providing a highly personalized public service
• Malmo – an industrial town that is now a European leader in eco-friendly urban management

More International Insights


public management building sustainable communities: The global challengeArticle for US City and County Managers on City Leadership

The cover story of the December 2008 issue of the US magazine, Public Management, is designed to assist US city and county managers develop a more international approach to US city leadership and urban management. Written by Robin Hambleton and Jill Simone Gross the article, titled Local Management in a Global Era, examines urban trends and sets out five emerging lessons from global research on cities.
• Place matters more than is commonly realized
• Cross-national exchange can spur innovation in policy and practice
• Coping with ‘dynamic diversity’ requires new approaches
• Officers as well as politicians have a key role in promoting democratic vitality
• There is no such thing as ‘best practice’ in city management – leaders need to strive for ‘relevant practice’

More Local Management in a Global Era


international insightsCivic Leadership for Auckland –
Report for the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance commissioned Urban Answers to prepare a Briefing Paper on ‘Civic Leadership for Auckland: An International Perspective’. Published in July 2008 this report puts forward a new conceptual framework for understanding civic leadership. It adopts a global perspective and examines the changing context for civic leadership as well as the shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance’. Based on a review of the literature and as well as current challenges facing metropolitan areas it puts forwards ‘pointers’ for civic leadership in the Auckland city region.

Click here for the full article


City Futures 2009 –
International Conference in Madrid, June 2009

Robin Hambleton is Co-President of the International Conference on City Futures 2009 to be held in Madrid in June 2009. Organised by the European Urban Research Association (EURA) and the North American Urban Affairs Association (UAA) this conference aims to lift the quality of international dialogue about urban issues by creating a whole conference sharply focused on international exchange. The five tracks cover:
• Sustainable cities and regions, climate change, resource use and urban adaptation
• Knowledge and technology in urban development
• Community development, migration and integration in urban areas
• Urban governance and city planning in an international era
• Architecture, design and planning of the public realm

More City Futures 2009



Planning is the professional weekly for all practicing planners in the UK. It is the professional magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

City Seeks Harmony, Planning, 17 August 2007

This article examines the spectacular urban development of Shanghai, China and asks questions about whether the rapid expansion of the city is leading to harmonious planning as advocated by President Hu Jintao. The involvement of planning students from the University of Tongji in designing the World Expo 2010 site is a bold innovation that could provide lessons for planning schools elsewhere in the world.

Idea Exchange Finds Favour, Planning, 26 January 2007

This article discusses the nature of the cross national lesson drawing process. It distinguishes informal from formal approaches and describes three ‘levels’ of transfer: 1) Technical measures, 2) Policy exchange, and 3) Institutional transfer. Examples are used to illustrate the argument.

US Urban Plan Concepts Set for UK Import, Planning, 18 February 2005

This article examines the way transatlantic dialogue in relation to urban policy, urban governance and city planning has gathered pace over the years. It suggests that debates about ‘new urbanism’ in the US resemble similar debates in the UK and that there is much to be gained from strengthening transatlantic dialogue in relation to city planning and urban design.

Conference papers

Recent conference papers include the following:

Cross National Lesson Drawing for Planning – Taking Advantage of Globalization

Presented at the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Conference in Naples, Italy in July 2007 this paper discusses:

1) The nature of globalization

2) Global urban trends

3) Dynamic diversity in the modern city

4) The implications of these developments for cross-national policy transfer.

Leading localities as if communities matter

Presented to the ACSP/AESOP Conference in Chicago, USA in July 2008 this paper discusses the changing context for civic leadership and sets out a case for strengthening place-based leadership.