Mega-Cities Collage

The Mega-Cities Project is a transnational, non-profit network of leaders from government, business, non-profits, grassroots groups, academia and media, dedicated to sharing innovative solutions to the problems they face in common. Since 1987 we have established research/action teams in 21 of the world's largest cities. The Mega-Cities Coordinators in each city are based in local research centers, universities or voluntary organizations. We have met together in ten of these cities to exchange experiences; synthesize lessons learned; and refine our theory, method and action strategy.

The founding principles upon which our work has been based are that: (1) by working in solidarity across cities worldwide and seeing concrete results, we can turn despair into hope for our urban centers; (2) collaborative partnerships among urban leaders from every sector are essential to success; (3) sharing knowledge and experience among cities can jump-start problem solving; and (4) the future hope for cities lies with their young people.

Watch a Discovery Channel PSA video about The Mega-Cities Project (1994).

The Mega-Cities Project has identified and documented dozens of innovations in each city; brokered the transfer of 40 workable solutions across national, regional, and neighborhood boundaries; developed a grassroots leadership strategy; designed a travel/study semester for undergraduates; initiated an Annual Global Leaders Survey; and produced many case studies, articles, books and videos (See Publications).

Our approach to sharing and scaling-up local solutions has been adopted by the U.N. community under the rubric of Urban Best Practices and has been instrumental in fostering an asset-based view of metropolitan regions. Our focus is on the intersection of poverty, environment, and participation with special attention to choice and opportunity for vulnerable groups - women and youth.

Our vision is to transform cities towards increasing social justice, ecological regeneration, political participation and economic vitality respecting the unique history and culture of each one and celebrating the vitality of diversity.

Our mission is to shorten the lag time between ideas and implementation in urban problem-solving by identifying, documenting, and transferring successful innovations, or by scaling up grassroots initiatives into public policy.


Ours is a research/action strategy including new knowledge creation and new forms of dissemination across boundaries of place and space. We aim to prepare new generations of urban leaders for the complex challenges they will face in the future.

Please refer to the article "A Dual Strategy for Deliberate Social Change in Cities"

Global Leaders Survey
Our Global Leaders Survey shows that the top leaders from every sector see partnership as essential, but only 9% reported that their cities had "a lot" of cooperation among sectors. Furthermore, although 96% of leaders agreed that the problems faced by their cities were similar to those of other cities, and 96% said they would benefit from sharing information among cities, only 11% felt very knowledgeable about what other cities worldwide were doing to solve their problems.


The Mega-Cities Project is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax status.
Founder and President: Janice Perlman, PhD. Information:
Copyright 2000-2007 The Mega-Cities Project. All rights reserved.