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



Towards sustainable urban energy

How does sustainable urban energy contribute to the economic recovery of cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we discussed the potential of new power generation technologies, such as distributed solar energy and energy efficiency, to make cities more sustainable, resilient, and at the same time, contribute to a true green economic recovery. Topics addressed include (i) the legal framework; (ii) technologies; and (iii) financing.

Decarbonizing Cities: Innovations in Latin America and the Caribbean

How can we reduce the carbon footprint of our cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we discussed the state of decarbonization of cities and urban transport, and presented the potential of metro cables for the region. Topics addressed included - among others - zero carbon cities, electro mobility and climate change commitments, and electro mobility as a social tool with a particular case of metro cables.

How to adapt cities to climate change? Financing and best practices

Why is it so important that our cities are prepared to adapt to climate change? In a recent webinar we discussed how to improve technical capacities and mobilize financing for adaptation, take advantage of decarbonization opportunities, develop strong local strategies, and articulate national commitments with local goals.

Towards a Green Recovery: A Climate Change Focused Agenda for LAC Cities

This event explores the region's central institutional climate challenge: coordination between the national and local level, from goal setting to financing issues, as well as monitoring and development of policies and incentives. This session summarizes the four main financing challenges and capacity gaps that cities in the LAC region face in addressing climate change in their cities: 1) adaptation; 2) infrastructure improvement; 3) decarbonization; 4) local challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of nationally determined contributions.


The future of food markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

In the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, food markets have been among the most affected. Why are these types of spaces key to building more resilient cities, strengthening urban-rural linkages in the region, and fostering innovation to better connect producers, sellers and consumers?

24-hour cities: reactivating cities at night in the new normal

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the nighttime economy of our cities? In a recent IDB Cities Network webinar, we spoke with experts and nighttime mayors from cities such as Amsterdam and New York, who shared experiences and lessons learned on how to safely reactivate 24-hour activity in the new normal.

How to promote the reactivation of employment in Latin American and Caribbean cities?

How can local governments contribute to the reactivation of employment in their cities? We talked to various experts on public employment programs, training and job placement, and pay-for-performance proposals.


In a recent webinar in conjunction with UN-Habitat, we discussed how to leverage open-source data to improve public spaces, and presented cases from Montevideo (Uruguay), Montería (Colombia) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).


In this webinar we explore best practices and medium and long-term strategies for resilient recovery from natural disasters, such as hurricanes Eta and Iota in Central America.


How are cities implementing technology to transform public services? We talked to several experts about the capacity of GovTech ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean, and their potential contribution to solving public governance problems.


The Meeting of Mayors 2021 sought to generate a virtual space for the exchange of experiences and tools for the recovery of post-pandemic cities with a special focus on boosting their growth

Download the summary of the event here.

Cities as an engine of growth in the post-pandemic recovery

What role do cities play in post-pandemic economic recovery processes? We talked to renowned international experts on how cities can drive productivity and inclusive economic growth.

The Role of Women in the Recovery of Cities

What impact has COVID-19 had on women in urban areas? We analyze the structural inequalities faced by women in the workplace, as well as various experiences and policies that promote inclusive economic recovery in cities.

How to promote a green and resilient recovery in cities?

We analyze how to channel the economic recovery of cities towards a green recovery. This panel addresses the importance of biodiversity for cities and shares experiences of cities that have taken action to incorporate a green agenda in their development plans.

Rethinking the cultural and creative industries in the new normality.

How have the dynamics of entertainment and socialization been affected in the post-pandemic city? We analyze how cities have faced the crisis of cultural and creative industries, and what is the recovery outlook for this sector in 2021.

The City as an Innovation Lab: solutions to address pandemic challenges

How will City Lab experimentation address the region's future challenges? We analyze how urban experimentation has made it possible to generate innovative solutions with the support of the IDB's Cities Lab, a co-design and experimentation platform that allows for the detonation of innovation processes to generate solutions to complex urban challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.



1.    Challenges and lessons learned by cities during the coronavirus crisis

What tactics are being implemented at the local level to combat COVID-19? In the face of the global epidemic caused by the coronavirus, city leaders are faced with the immense challenge of controlling the spread of this pandemic without eroding the local economic apparatus.

2.    Responses for the informal city in COVID-19 times: what do we do where traditional solutions do not work?

Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most unequal regions in the world, with 20% of its population living in informal settlements and around 50% in the informal economy. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation measures designed for formality are not so easy to comply with in the informal city, in addition to the immediate impact on the daily income of the most vulnerable populations


3.    How are cities preparing for a reopening before COVID-19? Experiences from Europe and New York

In the recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic, a key focus is the reopening of cities. Now, how to revive urban economies, public transportation and public spaces without creating a second wave of contagions? In the conversation of April 29, we learned about preliminary experiences of reopening European cities and New York, which can be very useful for local leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean.


4.    How are Latin American and Caribbean cities preparing for a reopening to COVID-19?

Urbanism and epidemiology: two necessary visions to reopen cities once the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic has passed. In the May 8 webinar, we talked to the following experts about the process of reopening cities:

  • Richard Florida, urban planner and professor at the School of Cities at the University of Toronto.
  • Stefano Bertozzi, dean emeritus and professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

We then discussed the challenges of reopening through simultaneous parallel sessions on mobility, public space, housing and construction, ending with a sharing of each session.

5.    Strategies to strengthen city revenues in COVID-19 times

The fiscal and financial situation of Latin American and Caribbean cities is facing a severe shock. Many of them are experiencing different measures, such as fiscal and economic functioning schemes. In the May 19 conversation, we learned about different experiences on how to restore cities' revenues.

6.    Economic revival of cities: the path to the new normal after COVID-19

How to revive employment, investment, urban mobility and the use of public space in the post-pandemic city? Urban collaboration and innovation will be crucial for socio-economic solutions aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. During the webinar that took place on May 26th, we learned about multiple strategies on economic revival.

7.    The COVID-19 green sheet of the day: biodiversity for resilient cities

The health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus occurs in the midst of a climate change crisis, thus reinforcing the impetus to think of the post-pandemic as an opportunity to include measures that contribute to increasing resilience to climate change in urban areas, whether by reducing the carbon footprint, improving adaptation measures, or ensuring the quality of nature's elements. Learn about the experiences and strategies we shared in the June 9 conversation.

8.    What did we learn after three months of the COVID-19 crisis? Experiences and visions of Latin American and Caribbean city leade

In the aftermath of the health and socio-economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus, city leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean have faced vital issues such as public health, safety, economic recovery and growing social needs. In addition, many of the cities are facing new challenges as they enter a reopening phase. All of this complex situation highlighted the capacity of each municipality to cope with the crisis. In the June 19 webinar, we learned about the following experiences and visions after three months of COVID-19: 

  • Colin Jordan, Minister of Labor and Social Relations of Barbados.
  • Rodrigo Neves Barreto, Mayor of Niterói, Brazil
  • Claudio Castro, Mayor of Renca, Chile
  • Martin Llaryora, Mayor of Cordoba, Argentina
  • Milena Calderón Sol de Escalón, Mayor of Santa Ana, El Salvador
  • Virna Johnson, Mayor of Santa Marta, Colombia

What did everyone say? Watch video.

9.    Coordination between different levels of government: the key role of metropolitan governance in the management of the COVID-19 crisis

In the context of the health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus, dialogue and metropolitan governance is once again emerging on the roadmap for large municipalities that share borders, as well as for national and subnational entities in search of lasting and consensual solutions on a supra-communal scale. In the July 1 conversation, we learned about the following visions and experiences in metropolitan governance:

10.    How to regain trust in the post-pandemic city from the public space, civic culture and economy?

What role do communication, messages, authorities' actions, and behavioral economics have in improving public policy decisions? In the context of the health and socioeconomic crisis of the coronavirus, we learned about the following visions and experiences regarding citizen trust:

11.    The future of cities: transforming urban life in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis

Are we moving towards a new model of urban development that is more creative, productive, inclusive and resilient? In the July 31 conversation, we discussed the opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean cities in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis to implement changes in mobility, technology and human relations.

What did everyone say? Watch video.


Economic and employment reactivation through housing projects

How can urban development projects contribute to economic and employment recovery? Investment in infrastructure and the production and improvement of social housing can play a fundamental role in the post-pandemic recovery, either because of their potential impact on employment, quality of life and/or productivity of the economy.

In complex and uncertain times, the IDB Cities Network facilitates a virtual space for dialogue between specialists and local city leaders to learn about housing projects that improve the quality of life and contribute to local economic reactivation and employment generation based on public-private collaboration.

This second webinar of the Economic Reactivation Series: Reactivating the economy and employment through housing projects, focused on new instruments, investments and incentives that promote mixed land use, social diversity, smart densities and the definition of service standards, infrastructure, safe public space and green areas.

Website | Recording | Notes

Bosai: Building Resilient Cities Beyond Disasters

The IDB Cities Network and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) invite you to the workshop "Bosai: Building Resilient Cities Beyond Disasters".

Japan has built a resilient society through the concept of "Bosai," an extremely broad Japanese term that encompasses everything from risk reduction to rebuilding and recovering cities after a natural disaster. Its holistic approach to saving both lives and the economy has a major impact on all phases of disasters: prevention, recovery, response, and mitigation. In addition, the country has improved its response capacity for economic and social recovery through investments in resilient infrastructure. Thus, for example, many cities in Japan are developing disaster-resistant, efficient, and environmentally friendly electricity systems.

This webinar is an opportunity to learn from Japanese and Latin American and Caribbean cities about how they have responded to past floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, and how their programs and policies can inspire and enhance the work we are doing.

Website | Notes

How to facilitate women's access to decent and affordable housing in Latin American and Caribbean cities?

In the first webinar of the Network's Economic Revitalization Series, the objective was to engage in a conversation on how to facilitate women's access to decent and affordable housing in cities, as well as to highlight the role of financial institutions and local governments in Latin America and the Caribbean in this regard. 

The IDB Cities Network's Economic Revitalization Series seeks to strengthen the institutional and financial capacity of cities through programs and activities related to local economic development, employment generation and innovative financing mechanisms with the private sector.

Immigrating: strengthening cities

The arrival of COVID-19 is strongly affecting Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, and especially the region's migrants, as approximately 10 million Latin American and Caribbean migrants reside in another country. The pandemic has been an additional factor for people to migrate, but COVID-19 also forced the closure of borders, which harmed the migrant population leaving many in a precarious and uncertain state. This crisis will affect cities and densified areas in particular, where this population is usually found.

The Housing and Urban Development Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in coordination with the Migration Unit, presents Immigrating: Strengthening Destination Cities, which exposes the problem from the migrants' point of view so that cities can prepare themselves to be more inclusive and respond adequately to this great challenge.

Today, the global situation requires us to provide innovative, rapid and focused responses to mitigate the problems that arise during the pandemic. In this discussion, we learned about the current migration and health situation from the practical experience of three cities in LAC and the Bank's work on migration in cities.



Panel at the UN Climate Change Conference 2019 - COP25. Madrid, December 2019

The path towards a sustainable and resilient city to climate change: the cases of Madrid, Medellin, Montevideo and Seville.

  • Federico Gutiérrez, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia.
  • Juan Espadas Cejas, Mayor of Seville, Spain.
  • Sandra Nedov, Mayor of Muncipio D of Montevideo, Uruguay
  • José Luis Martínez Almeida, Mayor of Madrid, Spain
  • Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Spain
  • Ana de la Cueva Fernández, Secretary of State for Economy and Business Support, Spain
  • Juan Pablo Bonilla, Manager of the Climate Change and Sustainability Sector, IDB


The preservation and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage is an asset for the development of the region. How to identify common solutions to the most urgent heritage problems that contribute to the sustainable, inclusive and resilient development of cities? The "Ibero-American Forum of Mayors - Living Heritage" sought to create a space for the exchange of experiences and stimulate debate on the conservation and enhancement of heritage in the cities of Latin America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. The meeting, held in Seville, Spain, in mid-September 2019, brought together more than 30 cities from over 15 Ibero-American countries.


Medellin is a city that has suffered a major onslaught due to drug trafficking and armed groups that came to occupy important areas of the city, making the capital of Antioquia one of the most insecure populations in the world. However, in the last 15 years, it has been able to reduce violence, reactivate its economy, and generate confidence for investors and its inhabitants. As part of the IDB's Citizen Security Week 2019, Mayor Federico Gutiérrez told us how Medellín faced the scourge of insecurity.

The cities of Vitoria, Brazil, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, are implementing comprehensive approaches to citizen security through social prevention and citizen cooperation with authorities. As part of the IDB's Citizen Security Week 2019, we learned about these cities' innovative interventions from Luciano Rezende, Mayor of Vitoria; Osman Aguilar Ponce, Municipal Councilor of Tegucigalpa; and Hugo Castillo, Specialist of the Institute for Community Development, Water and Sanitation (IDECOAS) and the Honduran Social Investment Fund (FHIS).


The 6th Urbanization and Poverty Reduction Conference, organized by the World Bank, George Washington University and the IDB, brought together academics and development practitioners to present and discuss issues related to people, markets and cities. In particular, the conference focused on effective labor market policy for land, housing, transportation and the local market in cities and its implications for economic development and social inclusion. From the IDB Cities Network, we invited Mayor Felipe Alessandri to present how the Municipality of Santiago, Chile, is promoting local development with social inclusion and integration.


With the Inclusive Cities Workshop: Women's Leadership in Urban Management we propitiated the meeting of more than 30 female officials and leaders from the region during three days of training at the IDB headquarters in mid-June 2019. We provided tools for negotiation, team leadership and communication, and practical knowledge in terms of urban management in coordination with the different sectors of the IDB. In this way, we seek to promote women's leadership in the management of cities in order to enhance women's capacities and their impact on the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. In addition, the workshop aimed to generate a dialogue between women from the public, private and civil society sectors, strengthening their role in the construction of cities as actors of social, economic and political change.

Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean face the challenge of developing sustainable and inclusive communities that promote the well-being of all citizens. One of the main challenges is to reduce disparities between men and women. What is being done in the region? We spoke with Raisa Banfield, Deputy Mayor of Panama City; Cristina Vélez, former Secretary of Social Integration of Bogotá; and María Verónica Irizar, President of the Gender Commission of the Rosario City Council.

In order to develop inclusive cities, it is necessary to adopt urban policies that contribute to reducing disparities in opportunities between men and women, and that promote access to services and benefits that meet the needs of the entire population. We share the presentation of IDB specialist, Nora Libertun.

If you could experience your city from 95 centimeters tall, which is the average height of a healthy 3-year-old, what would you do? The Urban95 initiative works directly with local leaders, urban planners, architects and designers to identify and implement ideas to change the way families with young children live, interact, move and enjoy the city. We share the presentation of Leonardo Yanez, Representative of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

What success stories are there when it comes to building a gender-sensitive and sexual harassment-free urban public transport? The prevention strategy "Bájale al Acoso" of the Mayor's Office of Quito promotes solidarity and coexistence among passengers, who can report cases of harassment by sending a free text message to 6367. Once the text message is received, an audio message about respect and coexistence is activated inside the transportation units. In 22 months of implementation, more than 2,700 complaints of sexual harassment have been received, 71 cases have been channeled to the Prosecutor's Office and 21 aggressors have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 1 to 9 years. Learn about the "Bájale al Acoso" initiative in Quito from this interesting presentation by Thalía Bueno, former head of the Gender Unit of Patronato San José Quito.


The Urban Workshop: Learning from the Nordic Experience facilitated the meeting and exchange of experiences and lessons learned between mayors and municipal technical officials from Latin America and the Caribbean with their peers from five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Based on the Nordic urban experience, the workshop held in late May 2019 in Copenhagen and Malmö facilitated learning in terms of sustainability, competitiveness and inclusion for a better quality of life in Latin American and Caribbean cities. In addition to the exchange with local authorities, the meeting included the active participation of leaders in sustainable urban development from international entities, the private sector and civil society.


The conference Migration and Cities: The Road to Inclusive Integration, organized in the context of the Platform on Migration and Forced Displacement coordinated by the Multilateral Development Banks, focused on the policy challenges and economic opportunities of migration at the local level and the effect on migrant-receiving communities. Policies to integrate migrants into the urban, social and economic fabric of receiving cities are key to addressing the short, medium and long-term challenges of these migration processes. The ultimate goal of this conference held in Madrid in March 2019 is to seek solutions in migration for the economic, social and cultural development of cities for a more inclusive integration.

Challenges and opportunities arising from the migration and development nexus

  • Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Emma Navarro, Vice President, European Investment Bank
  • Axel van Trotsenburg, Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank
  • Cristina Manzano, Journalist, Director, esglobal, Spain

A Latin American Perspective on Migration: Mexico and Colombia 

  • Maximiliano Reyes Zúñiga, Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico
  • Felipe Muñoz, Manager of the Border with Venezuela, Presidency of Colombia
  • Andrea Costafreda, Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Oxfam Intermón, Spain
  • Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute, Spain 
  • Michael Reid, The Economist

Preparing cities for migration  

  • Felipe Alessandri, Mayor of Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • Marta Higueras, First Deputy Mayor, Madrid City Council, Spain
  • Ahmad Kamareddine, Mayor of Tripoli Municipality and President of the Union of Municipalities of Al Fayhaa, Lebanon
  • Gonzalo Fanjul, Co-Founder, porCausa, Spain

Migration in action: innovation in policy-making and public-private partnerships

  • Monica Alfaro, Officer, Migration and Integration Legal Unit, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission, Spain
  • Elena Gil, Global Director of Big Data B2B and CEO of Luca, Telefonica Group, Spain
  • Ghadeer Khuffash, Employment Education, Jordan
  • Marcela Torres, Founder, Holacode, Mexico 
  • Agustín Torres Herrero, Secretary General for Immigration and Emigration, Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security, Spain

Closing Remarks

  • Josep Borrell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Spain.


  • Workshop "Learning from disasters: building city resilience through cultural heritage" - New Orleans, October 2018 | Publication
  • Regional workshop "Culture-based urban revitalization" - Guadalajara, September 2018 | Agenda
  • Workshop "Barrio 31 - YPF Sector: recommendations for the new public space" - Buenos Aires, May 2018 | Report
  • 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