Connecting Latin American and Caribbean cities for sustainable urban development

The IDB Cities Network is a platform for knowledge, relationships and solutions at the municipal level that aims to socialize knowledge, lessons learned and good practices in environmental, economic and social sustainability of more than 200 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through meetings, we promote institutional support, innovation, and the exchange of knowledge between the public and private sector, civil society and academia to boost the demand and capacities for loans and investments able to solve the main urban challenges in the region.

Our scope of work includes:

  • Dissemination and transfer of knowledge that contributes to the strengthening of local, technical and management capacities in sustainable urban development.
  • Generation of spaces for exchange and dialogue between cities on experiences aimed at solving the challenges generated by urban growth.
  • Relationship and joint work with other networks of cities and institutions interested in the promotion of sustainable urban development. 

Who is part of the network?

The Network is made up of more than 200 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a combined population of approximately 160 million people. They are mostly intermediate and metropolitan cities with a high rate of urban growth. Created within the Housing and Urban Development Division of the IDB's Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector, the IDB Cities Network is aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III), the Paris Agreement, and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Also, we work with other networks, such as Mercociudades and C40.


Why a network?

The global economy is being urbanized, and Latin America and the Caribbean is not the exception, where 80% of the population lives in cities. Moreover, it is the region of the world with the highest proportion of inhabitants in megacities per country. It is estimated that by 2030 more than 100 million people will live in just six metropolises. Being the main engine of economic and social development in the region, the cities of Latin America and the Caribbean are becoming increasingly metropolitan areas that concentrate population, services and infrastructure, and therefore multiple challenges such as climate and social.


How does the Network fit in the urban agenda?

For cities, the Network makes it possible to prioritize the urban agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean, increase collaborative platforms that generate innovation and investment, accelerate reforms and good practices, and increase the investment disposition of cities. While for the associated partners, the Network represents an excellent platform of interaction with the cities of the region that generates business opportunities and investments such as public-private associations. And for the IDB, the Network allows to visualize its role and leadership in the objectives of sustainable development, unifying internal efforts, as well as boosting the demand for operations in cities and urban reforms.



of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean live in cities.

cities with a population above 300,000 inhabitants.

4 trillion
US dollars is the gross domestic product of cities in the region.

3 million
people are added to the urban workforce per year.

of loans are operationalised in cities.

of carbon emissions occur in cities.


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. Storytelling workshop for cities: how to tell what your city is doing to society? - Virtual meeting, September 2020 | Announcement

. Cities and the management of the coronavirus crisis: learning from the experience of the other - Virtual meetings, March-August 2020 | Micro portal | Videos | Publications | Blogs

. The road to a sustainable and resilient city to climate change: the cases of Madrid, Medellin, Montevideo and Seville - Madrid, December 2019 | Panel at the UN Conference on Climate Change 2019 - COP25 | Video | Blog

. LAC Cities Challenge - Call for urban regeneration - New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., November 2019 | Call for proposals | Agenda and technical documents | Blogs | Video | Photos

. Iberian-American Mayors Forum: Living Heritage - Seville, September 2019 | Forum | Agenda | Blogs | VideoPanels | Photos

. Citizen Security Week - Washington, D.C., September 2019 | Conference | Video Medellín | Video Tegucigalpa and Vitoria | Photos

. 6th Research Conference on Urbanization and Poverty Reduction - Washington, D.C., September 2019 | People, Markets and Cities | Conference | Panel video | Blog | Photos

. Inclusive cities workshop. Female leadership in urban management - Washington, D.C., June 2019 | Workshop | Blog | Publication | Video | Photos

. Learning from the Nordic urban experience - Copenhagen, Malmö, May 2019 | Workshop | Blogs | Publication | Video | Photos  

. Migration and cities. The road to inclusive integration - Madrid, March 2019 | Seminar | Blog | Video

. Workshop "Learning from disasters: building the resilience of the city through cultural heritage" - New Orleans, October 2018 | Publication

. Workshop "Heart of the neighborhood: the markets and the circular economy" - Montevideo, October 2018 | Agenda | Memory | Blog | Video

. Regional workshop "Urban revitalization based on culture" - Guadalajara, September 2018 | Agenda

. Annual Meeting of Mayors - Medellin, September 2018 | Blog | Publication | Video

. Workshop "Neighborhood 31 - Sector YPF: recommendations for the new public space" - Buenos Aires, May 2018 | Report

. Ibero-American Forum of Mayors - Mendoza, March 2018 | Blog | Publication | Video | Photo gallery

. Forum "Towards Innovative and Competitive Cities" - Washington D.C., September 2017 | Agenda

. Course "Sustainability of cities: the management of environmental assets and their impact on the resilience of cities" - Santander, August 2017 | Agenda

Cities & COVID-19: how cities are managing the coronavirus crisis

CHECK OUT our special platform (in Spanish) about how cities are managing the coronavirus crisis.

Keys for the New Urban Normal: Climate Inclusion for Equitable Cities. Conversation recorded on August 28, with the following experiences: Clara Irazabal, Director of the Latin American Studies Program and Professor of Planning at the University of Missouri, Kansas City; Eugene Zapata, General Director of the Global Network of Resilient Cities, Head of the Latin America and Caribbean Office; Hugo Christy, Director of "Demain Matin"; Perry Polar, Project Coordinator at the Caribbean Network for Urban and Territorial Management; Myrna Campoleoni, National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change in Cities and Infrastructures, Uruguay. More information. Video.


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Creative cities and urban cultural industries in the context of the coronavirus crisis. Conversation recorded on August 18, with the following experiences: Gabriela Cámara, restaurant owner and chef from Contramar, Mexico; Carmen Gloria Larenas, executive director Municipal Theater of Santiago, Chile; Jose Palazzo, producer Cosquin Rock, Córdoba, Argentina; Américo Castilla, director and creator of Fundación TyPA-Teoría y Prácticas de las Artes; John Newbigin, co-founder and first president of Creative England. More information. Video.


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The Future of Cities: Transforming Urban Life After the COVID-19 Crisis. Conversation recorded on July 31, with the following experiences: Greg Clark, Global Head of Future Cities and New Industries, HSBC; Daniel Quintero, Mayor of Medellín; and Claudia Dobles, First Lady of Costa Rica. More information. Video.


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How to regain confidence in the post-pandemic city from public space, civic culture and the economy? Conversation recorded on July 17, with the following experiences: Victoria Alsina, Associate Professor of Industry and Academic Director of the Center for Science and Urban Progress at New York University; Cecilia Güemes, Professor of Political Science at the Autonomous University of Madrid; and Fernando Straface, Secretary General and International Relations of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. More information. Video: ESP


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Coordination between different levels of government: the key role of metropolitan governance in managing the crisis of COVID-19​. Conversation recorded on July 1, with the following experiences: Enid Slack, director of the Institute of Finance and Municipal Governance of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto; Mila Costa, general director of the Development Agency of the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Juan David Palacio, Director of the Aburrá Valley Metropolitan Area, Colombia; Diego Valenzuela, Mayor of Tres de Febrero, Argentina. More information. Video: ESP | PT


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What did we learn after three months of COVID-19? Experiences and visions of Latin American and Caribbean city leaders. Conversation recorded on June 19, with the following experiences: Hon. Colin E. Jordan, M.P., Minister of Labor and Social Relations of Barbados; Rodrigo Neves Barreto, Mayor of Niterói; Claudio Castro, Mayor of Renca; Martín Llaryora, Mayor of Córdoba; Milena Calderón Sol de Escalón, Mayor of Santa Ana; and Virna Johnson, Mayor of Santa Marta. More information. Video: ESP


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A Green Recovery Post-COVID-19: Biodiversity for Resilient Cities. Conversation recorded on June 9, with the following experiences: Colleen Murphy, Director of the Urban Ecology Center at Yale School of Forest and Environmental Studies; Carolina Urrutia, Municipal Secretary for the Environment of Bogotá; Michèle Laruë-Charlus, Director General of Territorial Planning of Bordeaux; Leticia Gutiérrez Lorandi, General Director of Coordination of Policies and Environmental Culture, Mexico City; and Carla Ximena Giraldo Malca, Manager of City Services and Environmental Management, Lima. More information. Video: ESP | ENG | PT


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Reactivating Cities' Economies: The Path to the New Normal after COVID-19. Conversation recorded on May 26, with the following experiences: Andrés Cadena, Senior Partner, McKinsey Colombia; Ignacio Montojo, Director, HR&A Advisors; James Patterson Waterston, Chief of Cities and Infrastructure, Vivid Economics; and Fadlala Akabani Hneide, Secretary of Economic Development of Mexico City. More information.

Strategies to Boost City Revenue Amidst COVID-19. Conversation recorded on May 19, with the following experiences: Demian Tujsnaider, General Director for Buenos Aires' Government Administration of Public Revenues; Diego Giraldo, Territorial Planning Manager of ProPacífico, Cali; Vitor Puppi, Secretary of Planning, Finance and Budget, Curitiba; and Sandra Deyanira Tovar, Municipal Treasurer, Guadalajara. More information. Video: ENG | ESP | PT

How are the cities of Latin America and the Caribbean preparing for a reopening before COVID-19? Conversation of IDB's President Moreno with Richard Florida (U. Toronto) and Stefano Bertozzi (UC Berkeley), recorded on May 8. More information. Video: ENG Break-out rooms focused on: mobility ESP, public space ENG | ESP, and housing and construction ESP. Conclusions ESP

How Can We Prepare to Open Cities in the Context of COVID-19? Learnings from European Cities and New York City. Conversation recorded on April 29, with the cases of: Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner, New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs; Anna Schindler, Director of Urban Development, Zurich; Klemens Himpele, Director of the Department of Economics, Labour and Statistics, Vienna; Nataša Ritonija, Head of International Relations Office, Maribor. More information. Video: ENG | ESP

Policies for the Informal City During COVID-19. Conversation recorded on April 16, with the expertise of Alejandro Aravena (Pritzker Prize, 2016) and Rahul Mehrotra (Harvard University), and the following cases: Fernanda Miño, Secretary of Socio-Urban Integration, Ministry and Housing and Urban Development, Republic of Argentina and resident of informal neighborhood La Cava, San Isidro in Buenos Aires; Jaime Pumarejo Heins, Mayor of Barranquilla; Jorge Muñoz, Metropolitan Mayor of Lima; and Sebastião Bruno, Secretary of Infrastructure, Housing and Conservation of Rio de Janeiro. More information. Video: ENG | ESP | PT

Learnings and Challenges from Cities on the Frontlines of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Conversation recorded on April 2 with the following experiences: Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor of Seville; Begoña Villacís, Vice Mayor of Madrid; Renán Barrera, Mayor of Mérida; and Diego Fernández, Secretary of Social and Urban Integration of the City of Buenos Aires. More information. Video: ESP | ENG