City Desk

Our city desk follows civic innovations within cities and other local government arenas, with the aim of profiling some of the leading practices, as well as how cities are integrating these into broader strategies for sustainability and resilience. We offer profiles, with links to a range of other resources (books, articles, climate plans, reports, organizations).

Of course, none of these profiles is comprehensive, and none of the innovations is without problems. Nor have all of them proven institutionally stable. Indeed, cities face enormous obstacles deriving from deep institutional patterns of land use, transportation systems, racial segregation, green gentrification, financialization, and other factors highlighted in critical urban studies.

Our profiles cite some of the relevant literature on such obstacles, but we do not try to provide an overall balance sheet or a definitive pathway forward.

We profile initiatives that operate on the terrain of democratic pragmatism, while being responsive to deeper structural critiques of the factors that reproduce inequalities of power, recognition, and resources.

We invite those scholars and activists who focus on structural critiques to suggest civic and institutional alternatives that are credibly realizable within the democratic parameters of city politics, as well as within more just configurations of national policy and market dynamics.

We also invite activists and practitioners in these cities to alert us to other developments, along with recommended research reports, case studies, scholarly articles, new and old books, as well as critical analyses.

We add cities as we gain access to a critical threshold of reliable research and other data.

To make suggestions, email our editor:

For timely and ongoing updates and resources from some of the leading urban intermediaries in the field, see:


Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)

Bloomberg Cities Network

Sustainable City Podcast