Co-Cities Project

About the Co-Cities Project

LabGov Georgetown is co-host to the groundbreaking international applied research project: the “Co-Cities Project.” It is directed by  Professor Foster as part of LabGov Georgetown.

The Co-Cities project is designed to test, evaluate, and refine the Co-City Methodology through a scientific, multi-year project focused on collecting data on innovative public policies and local projects focused on shared urban resources from over 100 cities around the world.

Map of Co-Cities Project

The Co-Cities project investigates those new forms of collaborative city-making that are leading urban areas towards new forms of participatory urban governance, inclusive economic growth and social innovation. It is rooted on the conceptual pillars of the urban commons, and it comprehends a protocol, a methodology and five design principles that are in the process of being tested in selected European and American cities. A “Co-City” is based on urban co-governance which implies shared, collaborative, polycentric governance of the urban commons and in which environmental, cultural, knowledge and digital urban resources are co-managed through contractual or institutionalized public-private-community partnerships.

A bunch of diffrent hands (drawings) in different colors looking very eager to speak, shooting up toward the top of the picture

Collaborative, polycentric urban governance involves different forms of resource pooling and cooperation between five possible actors: social innovators (i.e. active citizens, city makers, digital collaboratives, urban regenerators, community gardeners, etc.), public authorities, businesses, civil society organizations, and knowledge institutions (i.e. schools, universities, cultural institutions, museums, academies, etc.). These partnerships give birth to local peer-to-peer experimental, physical, digital and institutional platforms with three main aims: fostering social innovation in urban welfare provision, spurring collaborative economies as a driver of local economic development, promoting inclusive urban regeneration of blighted areas. Public authorities play an important enabling role in creating and sustaining the co-city. The ultimate goal is to create a more just and democratic city.

Active Co-City Projects are Underway in Six Cities:

Headshot of Christian Iaione

Meet the Co-Cities Project Principal Investigators & Members.

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Read the Co-Cities Blog.

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Read Sheila Foster’s Recent Blog Post, “Gentrification Reconsidered: An Ambitious Framework for Equitable Urbanism,” from May 2018. 

Headshot of Sheila Foster

Review a Powerpoint Presentation by Sheila Foster on the Co-Cities Project.

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For a Deeper Dive, Review the Co-City Research & Resources, or the many publications by Foster & Iaione.

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View a Map of all the Co-Cities.

For More Information


Visit the Co-Cities Project website.