The state of cities in 2024

How are Europe’s cities doing? What are the trends, concerns, opportunities, and challenges? And how are cities improving urban living for their residents? We get asked many of these questions in Eurocities, which are never straightforward to answer. As much as cities share many challenges and solutions, there is also a rich diversity between them due to, for example, geographic differences and different national or regional contexts.

The Eurocities Monitor is a collection of thematic essays that attempt to capture ‘city life’ from a European perspective to answer some of the above questions. The essays – structured around our main areas of expertise – each offer an oversight of some of the most pertinent trends and challenges currently facing cities. Although rich in content, they are by no means exhaustive in terms of urban challenges and solutions or Eurocities activities in support of our members.

Still, building on the different activities in our network in 2023 and early 2024, we offer an overview of what is moving on the ground and in the collaborations between European cities. More specifically, the material is curated from the work of our 40 working groups and taskforces, our six thematic forums, our 40 externally financed projects and 140+ events of various kinds, ranging from in-depth mutual learnings and policy transfers to larger European-scale conferences.

In early 2024, we have clearly felt that the end of the current political mandate at the EU level is approaching. It has enormously impacted the political debates in the EU institutions, the negotiations between them, and our work. We have seen an increased concern for the social impact of the green and digital transition and witnessed the attention turn towards European competitiveness and industry. At the same time, it remains clear that, locally, the green and just transitions go hand-in-hand. This is also confirmed by the results of the Eurocities Pulse Mayors Survey and our manifesto for the European elections, A better Europe starts in cities.

As always, throughout 2023, we were consistently inspired and learned a lot through our different actions, and I am sure you will too when reading the Eurocities Monitor. Each essay shares examples from our member cities and is packed with links to further source material, quotes from mayors, videos, and images to help elaborate and amplify cities’ voices. These essays complement many of the points raised by mayors in the Eurocities Pulse. They give further background and insight into many of the points that we raise regularly with decision-makers in Brussels.

Some of my personal highlights captured in these essays include:

  • The numerous examples that demonstrate how cities are installing the infrastructure and policies needed to meet climate goals and improve the quality of life for their residents.
  • The adoption of the European Cycling Declaration,which is an acknowledgement by the EU institutions of the significance of integrating cycling into sustainable urban transport policies.
  • The sharp focus espoused by city governments to include all people in the digital transformation as they innovate and update essential public services.
  • Cities’ strong work on the EU Nature Restoration Law, and their commitment, and positive examples, to flexibility in the urban environment, by opening up more space to nature.
  • The essential leadership demonstrated by cities implementing urban food strategies to address the entire value chain from farm to fork, while addressing climate change and equitable access to good quality food.
  • The engagement for better housing policies at ministerial level in the EU, addressing deep concerns at city-level and the urgent need to build more affordable, decent, and sustainable housing for all.
  • The commitment by more than 46 cities to making their local cultural policies more sustainable and inclusive.
  • The positive examples set by cities across Europe play in the sustainable integration of migrants and refugees from all parts of the world, particularly in light of the Russian War in Ukraine.
  • The continued action, support and engagement from cities all over Europe with their struggling counterparts in Ukraine.
  • Our Connecting Territories report, which highlights the need to better recognise metropolitan governance as an essential part of the management of complex urban-rural relationships, and the importance of territorially balanced development to ensure a good quality of life for everyone.

And, the clear message shared by many city administrations that, while cities can do a lot to improve the quality of life or their urban residents, the best impact comes from actions taken in coordination across different levels of government, and in tandem with local businesses and other local and regional organisations.

With that I leave you to read more on Eurocities work, and the inspiring examples of our cities.

by Dorthe Nielsen

Executive Director, Eurocities

Climate & environment

Urban food policies



Digital transformation


Economic development

Urban mobility


Inclusive cities