This communication intends to reveal the importance of international city-to-city cooperations during the pandemic crisis and how the concept of rescaling is enlightening to analyse this process. The presentation stem from a doctoral research in geography defended in 2021.
City-to-city cooperations are mainly studied by political sciences, as part of a reflexion on the renewal of international relations, which are increasingly being taken over by non-state actors, such as cities. Those studies show how these relations have evolved, from twinnings to large city associations. Those relations form a “city diplomacy” which stands up against States diplomacy. Nicolas Escach’s PhD uses the concept of rescaling to analyse those cooperations, in a geographical perspective. He shows that cooperations are a way for sub-state actors to by-pass the national level and to assert itself on an international scale.
This research is based on mixed methods. 3 databases census the different types of cooperations between cities at a global level. Those databases were analysed through network, spatial and statistical analysis. Then, interviews were made with actors involved in those links.
The results show that the pandemic has been an important topic of cooperations among cities and that it did not eased those relations. The cooperations have been used to exchange good practices on local matters: transports, schools... Many city associations launched regular meetings and websites to exchange on the pandemic. But the pandemic has also been a mean for cities to denounce the States and their incapacity to deal with the crisis. Cities plead for their local expertise on this matter. Cooperations between cities during Covid 19 can therefore be analysed through the concept of rescaling. This is part of the long-term international action of cities. They are increasingly visible on global issues such as migrations, global change, and now the pandemic, which shows their new role on a global scale.
Keywords: cooperations|cities|rescaling |pandemic|internationalisation