Are cities and citizens helpless victims in a global flow of events? The short answer is 'no'. Written by leading urban scholars from Europe and North America, this book aims not only to enhance understanding of the globalization process, but also to argue that the political space for local leadership and action is greater than many commentators have assumed.Three related questions are addressed through the three-part structure: What is the nature of the globalization process? What resulting challenges now confront cities and localities? How can local leaders respond to this changing environment in ways which strengthen local democracy?The analysis draws on a range of disciplines including political science, economics, sociology, geography, urban planning and public management. By highlighting the interplay between international forces driving homogenization and local initiatives projecting the value of geographical place and local identity, this international volume aims to stimulate fresh thinking about city leadership, urban planning and community development.