Annual Convention of the International Studies Association edition:50 location:New York City, USA date:15-18 February 2009
The global cities literature investigates cities in their relation to globalization processes and global
networks. Urban settings are conceptualized as potential strategic places that concentrate vital
knowledge, infrastructure and services for global activities.
Whether cities fulfill this role for global environmental governance (GEG) should partly become
clear from the study of city networks that emerge out of the location strategies of global
environmental NGOs (ENGOs). The material basis for ENGOs to act is constituted by their
worldwide office grids. For the internal strength of an ENGO network it is important to be locally
anchored in order to engage people, while at the same time create a common identity by
connecting these people to global practices. When it comes to relations with external actors,
being present in particular places enables ENGOs to influence GEG, shape practices and
cooperate with a wide range of actors.
Against the background of Castells’ view that the environmental movement is situated both in the
space of flows and in the space of places, this paper discusses how cities can be conceptualized
as urban nodes in the office networks of three global ENGOs: WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of
the Earth. Furthermore, an analytical framework to analyze ENGO networks is put forward.