Report on Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities

A growing number of urban communities around the world are recognizing that lifelong learning can be a driver of social, cultural, economic and environmental development. They are therefore developing inclusive and sustainable learning cities to enrich human potential, foster life-wide and lifelong personal growth, promote equality and social justice, maintain social cohesion, and create sustainable prosperity and economic growth. The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), which was initiated in 2012, is an international platform that enables cities to share expertise in advocating and enhancing lifelong learning for all. The coordination team at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has compiled this collection of case studies. By illustrating best practice and lessons learned when building learning cities, Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities: Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities aims to enrich the exchange of experience and good practice.

This publication brings together the diverse experiences of twelve cities as they work towards the target of providing lifelong learning for all: Melton (Australia), Sorocaba (Brazil), Beijing (China), Bahir Dar (Ethiopia), Espoo (Finland), Cork (Ireland), Amman (Jordan), Mexico City (Mexico), Ybycuí (Paraguay), Balanga (Philippines), Namyangju (Republic of Korea) and Swansea (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). Thus all of the five UNESCO regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean) are represented. The learning cities demonstrate great diversity in terms of size, population and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. As they are also at very different stages of development, the case studies give insights into varying points of the journey towards becoming a learning city. Notwithstanding these differences, all the cities have made significant progress in implementing the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities (UIL, 2013a) and the Key Features of Learning Cities (UIL, 2013b), two guiding documents outlining UNESCO’s recommendations for developing and maintaining learning cities.

You can find the 12 case studies on “Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities” summarised in this UNESCO report.