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City playbook for advancing the SDGs

A collection of how-to briefs on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals locally

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 We intend to add content to this collection on a rolling basis throughout 2021 and 2022.

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.

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  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
    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)
  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 (July 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 (September 2021)
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  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 (July 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 (September 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 (September 2021)
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  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)
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About City playbook for advancing the SDGs

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public. The conclusions and recommendations of any Brookings publication are solely those of its author(s), and do not reflect the views of the Institution, its management, or its other scholars.


Support for this project was generously provided by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.


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