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Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program releases new report,
“The making of global cities: Stories from the Global Cities Exchange”

Collection features first-hand accounts from the Global Cities Exchange;
illustrates how cities and metro areas are becoming more globally competitive and fluent

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 29, 2016 – A new collection of stories shows how dozens of cities and metro areas are taking action to strengthen their competitiveness in the global economy. “The making of global cities: Stories from the Global Cities Exchange,” released today by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, profiles the cities and metropolitan areas that are redefining what it means to be a global city.

Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating the Exchange, a peer learning network of more than 30 domestic and international metro areas working together to develop export and foreign direct investment strategies to boost their global competitiveness.

This report, authored by Rachel Barker, Amy Liu, and Marek Gootman, chronicles the work of many of these cities and metro areas over the last five years to engage globally and set their regions on a higher growth trajectory.

Across the country, cities and metro areas are showing that a strategic approach goes beyond simply exporting goods and services or attracting foreign direct investment. In Des Moines, Iowa, leaders created a strategy to position the region as a global center for insurance innovation. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin efforts are underway to fulfill an ambitious plan to become a global water technology hub. These global cities are deepening the capabilities of their unique industry specializations and investing in talent, infrastructure, and innovation to distinguish their region in the global marketplace.

“The cities and metro areas that participated in the Global Cities Exchange are adapting their local economies to face the rigors and challenges of the global economy and setting themselves on a stronger trajectory for growth and prosperity,” noted Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-author of the report. “More cities and metro areas should follow their powerful example.”

In addition to Des Moines and Milwaukee, the report profiles Atlanta, Ga., Charleston, S.C., Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Texas, Kansas City, Kan-Mo., Lexington, Ky., London, Louisville, Ky., Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., Phoenix, Ariz., Portland, Ore., San Diego, Calif., Syracuse, N.Y., Stockholm, Tampa Bay, Fla., Toronto, Upstate South Carolina, and Wichita, Kan.

Today, in conjunction with the release of “The making of global cities,” Brookings also released “Redefining global cities: The seven types of global metro economies,” a report that introduces a new classification of the world’s 123 largest metropolitan economies into seven groups that reveal their distinct competitive assets and challenges in the global economy.

In November, Brookings will release a new book by internationally renowned urbanist Greg Clark, Global Cities: A Short History. The book examines the enduring forces—such as trade, migration, diversity and technology—that have enabled some cities to emerge from the pack into global leadership. Much more than an historical review, Clark’s book looks to the future, examining the new waves that are transforming cities around the world as well as the emerging challenges that global cities will face.


About Brookings
The Brookings Institution is a private non-profit organization. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public. Brookings recognizes that the value it provides is in its absolute commitment to quality, independence and impact, and makes all final determinations of the scholarly activities in the Global Cities Initiative, including the research agenda and products.

About the Global Cities Initiative
The Global Cities Initiative is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase designed to help metropolitan leaders advance and grow their regional economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness on key economic indicators such as advanced manufacturing, exports, foreign direct investment, and traded sectors. GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating a peer-learning network. For more information please visit or For more information on the Global Cities Exchange, a peer-learning network, please visit