Smaller Cities Unite: How Citizen Diplomacy Can Help Communities Innovate
What does Copenhagen have in common with Providence, Rhode Island? Both are small cities known globally for their arts and design communities, academics, and their locations as “gateway cities” in their regions. But each is unique as well: Copenhagen, for example, is a world leader in bike infrastructure and energy independence, and Providence is becoming known for its unique approach to mentoring innovators working in areas ranging from design, to social entrepreneurship, to edtech. These cities—along with other small cities around the world—have important lessons to learn from each other.
- Find new ways to engage its student populations through internships and projects aimed at creating change, promoting place, and developing new ventures (e.g., internships, job opportunities, case studies and classroom projects based on real-world issues).
- Create new forms of arts and cultural exchanges between cities that were once non-existent (e.g., exploring ways to promote up-and-coming individuals’ work in various communities; learning from different arts and culture models dealing with education, learning and creativity; inviting unique artistic endeavors into new locales; viewing the arts as a form of cultural export that can benefit other communities as well).
- Foster student and professional exchanges that can take full advantage of each community’s academic assets (e.g., through coursework, case studies, classroom learning, experiential learning, and research).
- Leverage existing events and conferences to engage other communities and showcase an interest in building new bridges of understanding between locales (i.e., inviting change agents/innovators to participate in each locales world-class conferences and events).
- Enhance the quality of interaction of cities by opening new channels of understanding and information sharing (e.g., how can a city become more bikeable or bike-friendly; awareness of each others unique startup communities) and
- Explore new economic development opportunities on both large and small scales (i.e., import/export of physical products as well as new business models). \n
This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Learn About Your Town's Sister Cities. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.