City-to-city learning: a synthesis and research agenda



Cities learning from or with each other – or city to city learning (C2C) – is the focus of analysis for this systematic literature review. This research paper sought to understand C2C learning by examining conceptual, methodological, and empirical evidence. Conceptually, this research paper found few definitions of C2C learning. By formulating a definition as well as building a process-and-outcome model, which integrates different phases, mechanisms, conditions, and effects, this research paper contributes to furthering the conceptual debate and clarity on C2C learning. C2C learning is defined here as a dynamic yet sequential mutual process participated in by cities and their representatives which starts with exploration, followed by acquisition, utilization, and internalization. Each phase is activated by specific mechanisms and can be influenced by different conditions that can lead to multiplicity of outcomes. For future research, more diverse methodologies, such as the use of non-qualitative and longitudinal studies, are suggested. Lastly, further empirical analysis, which can make use of the proposed C2C learning process-and-outcome model, is recommended. Overall, it is important to further investigate the link(s) between the (wider patterns of) learning processes, the conditions under which C2C learning works, and (the multiplicity of) outcomes across different contexts.
Date made available2023

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