City playbook for advancing the SDGs

Osaka, Japan skyline at sunrise

This “City Playbook for Advancing the SDGs” compiles a series of how-to briefs and case studies on advancing sustainable development and social progress locally. These short, digestible, and practical briefs are written by city government officials for other city officials, based on their direct experience.

This playbook responds to significant appetite expressed by city leaders for capturing and sharing the “how” of innovations and practices to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) locally. These briefs come from cities participating in the Brookings SDG Leadership Cities community of practice and others to elevate innovations or processes with concrete positive outcomes for equity and sustainability. These best practices and tools help disseminate recommendations to a wider range of communities and stakeholders eager to play a pivotal role in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Co-edited by Anthony F. Pipa and Max Bouchet, these briefs are published in collaboration with the global learning platform for government innovators

If you’re using this playbook to apply an innovation locally or have questions or suggestions, please fill out this short survey.

This playbook is part of the Local Leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals project.

Chapter 1

Governance and partnerships

Illustration conveying teamwork
  1. Bristol, United Kingdom
    Why the One City model works: Local governance to achieve the SDGs and leave no one behind

    By Allan Macleod, SDG Research and Engagement Associate, Bristol City Council (Nov 2020)
  2. Los Angeles, United States
    a. How universities can help cities achieve the SDGs

    By Erin Bromaghim, Director of Olympic and Paralympic Development and Hilton Fellow on the SDGs, and Angela Kim, SDG Program and Data Manager, both in the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles (Nov 2020)
    b. Developing the next generation of SDG leadership
    By Jacinta Chen and Olivia Shinners, Student Researchers, Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles (Feb 2022)
  3. Yokohama, Japan
    Supporting city-to-city collaboration: How Yokohama is at the frontier of city development cooperation and public-private partnerships
    By Toru Hashimoto, Director General, International Affairs, City of Yokohama (Jul 2021)
  4. Mannheim, Germany
    Building Mannheim’s SDG strategy around the vision of residents: Instead of assuming what residents want, the city asked them
    By Christian W. Hübel, City Director for Democracy and Strategy, City of Mannheim (Sep 2021)
  5. Hawaii, United States
    Building public-private partnerships through trust, culture, and community: How Hawai‘i Green Growth is a model of cross-sector collaboration to deliver on the SDGs
    By Celeste Connors, CEO, Hawai’i Green Growth and Hannah Thompson, Sustainability Business Forum Coordinator, Hawai‘i Green Growth (Sep 2022)
Chapter 2

Data and measuring progress

Illustration conveying progress
  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
    How Buenos Aires uses the SDGs to advance women’s rights: A data-driven approach to gender equity in the public space
    By Francisco Resnicoff, Undersecretary for International & Institutional Relations, and Marisa Miodosky, Director for Partnerships at the Secretariat for Gender Equality, Government of the City of Buenos Aires (Dec 2020)
  2. New York, United States
    How to align city strategies with the SDGs: Embracing common language to measure and amplify progress
    By Alexandra Hiniker, Executive Fellow for Sustainability Initiatives, Carnegie Mellon University (Jul 2021)
  3. Helsinki, Finland
    Increasing government effectiveness using the SDGs: From Helsinki’s first to second Voluntary Local Review
    By Mia Malin, SDG Project Manager, City of Helsinki; Johanna af Hällström, Team Leader, City of Helsinki; and Pirita Kuikka, Environmental Planner, City of Helsinki (Sep 2021)
  4. Durban, South Africa
    Building a data ecosystem to accelerate local SDG progress and action: How the City of Durban collaborated with external partners to drive data solutions 
    By Dr. Sandile Mbatha, Senior Manager for City Research and Policy Advocacy, Office of the Strategic Management, eThekwini Municipality and Beryl Khanyile, Deputy City Manager, Human Settlements, Engineering and Transport Cluster, eThekwini Municipality (Sep 2021)
Chapter 3

SDG priorities

Illustration conveying deadlines
  1. Mexico City, Mexico
    Applying the SDGs to urban violence: A robust response must address root causes
    By Diana Alarcón González, Chief Advisor and International Affairs Coordinator, Government of Mexico City (Dec 2020)
  2. New York, United States
    How youth engagement helps prepare the next generation of SDG leaders: New York City on giving voice to young change-makers
    By Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, and Christie Saint-Vil, Program Manager for NYC Junior Ambassadors (Dec 2021)
  3. Winnipeg, Canada
    Winnipeg’s path to reconciling systemic inequity: Acknowledge. Listen. Act.: How cities can transform to lead the way in combating racism
    By Brian Bowman, Mayor of Winnipeg, and Jason Fuith, Chief of Staff to the Mayor (Apr 2022)
  4. Bogotá, Colombia
    The Bogotá CARE System: How a city is reorganizing itself for women
    By Diana Rodríguez Franco, Secretary for Women’s Affairs, City of Bogotá (Sep 2022)
Chapter 4

Budgeting and finance

Illustration conveying budgeting
  1. Malmö, Sweden
    Taking the SDGs seriously: Malmö’s model for budget integration
    By Frida Gothnier Leander, Sustainability Strategist, City of Malmö (Dec 2021)
  2. Sardinia, Italy
    Aligning public spending to the SDGs: Are we getting there?
    Edward Cruickshank, Researcher, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei; Marco Onnis, Policy Officer, Autonomous Region of Sardinia; and Sandro Sanna, Policy Officer, Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Feb 2022)
  3. Strasbourg, France
    Making the city’s budget a lever for transformation: Strasbourg’s model for SDG budget mapping
    By Yves Zimmermann, Project Director “European Green Capital” at the City and Eurometropole of Strasbourg (Apr 2022)