agenda for the city of the future

Translocal collaboration

Cities join forces for system change in a strong, solidary network

These are the results of dozens of conversations, discussions and exchanges of Cities for Change.  Door uiteenlopende deelnemers en organisaties uit Amsterdam en andere steden in Europa.


Cities are the pressure cooker for change par excellence. This is where we feel the daily impacts of the needs the world is experiencing – like the climate crisis, humanitarian crisis, housing crisis, inequality in money and power, an exhausted planet, social exclusion.

In many progressive cities around the world, a movement for system change is growing: a social, just and sustainable society in which the well-being of people and planet comes first. To strengthen and expand this movement and effectuate this change, cities, administrators, activists, academics, initiatives, resident groups join forces. In so-called translocal networks – and naturally, Amsterdam is a part of this.

‘Cities have to join forces and stand up for a better system. They can lead by example and highlight the bottom-up movement.’Marieke van Doorninck, alderman for Sustainability in Amsterdam


  • A strong solidarity network of European cities working together to build the agenda for the city of the future.
  • In this network, progressive administrations work together at an institutional level and social movements and municipalist groups find each other. For a joint, strong lobby at the national and the European level, on housing, energy justice, migration policy, etc. And to learn from one another (see below).
  • This network can organise around themes like donut economics, social economy, community wealth building, democratisation, public essential services, local and sustainable food chains, instruments to measure well-being, ethical banks, alternative currencies. And around formats, such as online forums, knowledge banks, toolkits, lessons learned, pacts, joint lobbying, joint research, etc.
  • The local and global connect here, without a one size fits all: every city is different in terms of economic conditions, political and social culture and relations of power.

Plus …

This collaboration is already taking place: in the Cities for Change Forum. From March – June 2021, with, for and by residents, neighbourhood groups, civil society organisations, NGOs, civil servants, administrators. 

‘Cities have to join forces and stand up for a better system. They can lead by example and highlight the bottom-up movement.’Marieke van Doorninck, alderman for Sustainability in Amsterdam

Which problems are the recommendations an answer to?

Many of the problems that cities are struggling with, supersede the urban level. Whether it’s the fossil fuel industry, real estate investors, banks, multinationals, corporate lobbies and commercial networks: these are all globally organised. The climate crisis, refugee crisis, economic recessions, tax-dodging multinationals, an exhausted planet and inequality are also interconnected. Many rules and regulations are designed at the European level and hinder decisive action at the urban level. There are plenty of answers around. But these are often too fragmented and insufficiently concentrated to effectuate genuine system change.

What is already happening in Amsterdam or other cities?

  • Naturally, the Cities for Change Forum is translocal. From March-June 2021, some 136 organisations, initiatives and networks, and 2785 participants from 38 cities in 30 countries and 4 continents came together.
  • The best-known citizen platform is that of Barcelona en Comù which has been part of the city council since 2015 and has even provided the city with its current the mayor.
  • In Croatia, several small green parties, the municipalist initiative Zagreb je NAŠ! (Zagreb is ours!), social and environmental movements, LGBTQ+ activists and trade unions have joined forces in Možemo!. In May 2021, Možemo! won 23 of the 47 seats in Zagreb’s municipal council and provided the mayor.
  • In Belgrade, the municipalist Ne davimo Beograd (Don’t let Belgrade d(r)own) is very active, falling just short of winning the municipal elections.
  • With Mayor Eric Piole of Grenoble en Comun, Grenoble is running a truly municipalist agenda. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, comes from the civic platform Paris en Comun.
  • Fearless Cities was the name of a large international municipalist conference in 2017 in Barcelona which brought together over 700 activists and researchers from over 100 organisations campaigning for democratisation, feminisation of politics and an economy that puts people and planet first. This was followed by a number of national ‘Fearless’ conferences. Cities for Change picked up the baton internationally in 2021.
  • On the Transformative Cities platform, grassroots movements and metropolises like Paris and Barcelona look for democratic solutions to essential provisions such as water, energy and housing. Transformative Cities also published the Atlas of Utopias , which puts the spotlight on cities and collectives putting these solutions into practice.
  • Born from a loose, informal network of organisations, projects and private persons, the European Municipalist Network is now a project to build political power from the bottom up and to experiment with democratisation. The associated municipalistische school collects knowledge and experiences and organises regular webinars and lessons.
  • On Commonspolis municipalist platforms from Spain and France collect alternatives for the system crisis.
  • Europe already boasts some 200 urban associations around as many themes.

Continue reading, listening or watching

Naturally, the Cities for Change Forum is trans-local:

Plus ...

Climate & energy

Community wealth building


Amsterdam doughnut economy

Public space

Digital democracy

Translocal collaboration