The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has published its report entitled “Unlocking the potential of urban communities: Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities”. This is the first publication of its kind which gives examples of cities in different parts of the world which use the Learning City approach to improve the individual empowerment of citizens, social cohesion, economic development, cultural prosperity and sustainable development.

But what is a learning city? For the UNESCO, it is a city that effectively mobilises its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education.

In total, the report provides case studies of the following 12 Learning Cities:

    • Melton (Australia)
    • Sorocaba (Brazil)
    • Beijing (China)
    • Bahir Dar (Ethiopia)
    • Espoo (Finland)
    • Cork (Ireland)
    • Amman (Jordan)
    • Mexico City (Mexico)
    • Ybycuí (Paraguay)
    • Balanga (The Philippines)
    • Namyangju (The Republic of Korea)
    • Swansea (The United Kingdom)

Amongst other matters, these cities have shared their motivation and vision for building Learning Cities with common factors such as education and community, elements that interact in the growing city. All Learning Cities aim to improve learning throughout the lifetime of their citizens for the good of their city in the future. In addition, they aspire to great things for both their cities and their citizens, while also being creative and pioneering as regards their desire to respond to a changing world with new ideas. Given this situation, these 12 cities provide valuable information as regards the specific actions and programmes put into place and provide knowledge to the rest of the cities in the world so that they can also build learning cities.

In short, this report offers a practical approach to the implementation of lifetime learning through the construction of learning cities.

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