Fearless Cities

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Fearless Cities is the global municipalist movement. It began in 2017 after the first conference in Barcelona to assist all global cities and communities create and / or develop local municipalist projects and political processes to allow citizens have a greater say in what type of city or community they wish to live in.


General introduction

According to the Fearless cities(FC) website:

In a world in which fear and inequalities are being twisted into hate, “Fearless” towns and cities are standing up to defend human rights, democracy and the common good.
This global municipalist movement met for the first time at the Fearless Cities Summit in Barcelona in June 2017, at the invitation of Barcelona En Comú, with the goal of radicalizing democracy, feminizing politics and standing up to the far right. 
Since then, these neighbourhood movements, mayors and local councilors have been collaborating to build global networks of solidarity and hope from the bottom up.[1]

Origins of Fearless Cities

The citizen platform Barcelona en Comú (BeC)[2] won the 2015 Municipal elections in Barcelona.[3] Along with seven other citizen platforms, this movement subsequently got labelled as the 'Rebel Cities' of Spain.[4] The municipalist win saw the city having its first woman mayor Ada Colau (in over 2,000 years of history) and BeC declared they were developing a more 'feminised' democracy.[5] A week after elections when interviewed on Democracy Now! Colau stated: “We can prove there is another way to govern, more inclusive, working together with the people, more than just asking them to vote every four years. We´re very aware that the real change must be global, that one city alone cannot solve all the problems we´re facing”.[6]

Fearless Cities Conferences

In 2017 BeC set up the first Fearless Cities conference in Barcelona to support other cities who wished to create similar citizen-led change. The conference and new global network had three clear goals:[7]

Work as a global municipalist network
Share tools, knowledge and experiences with municipalist movements from around the world
Feminize politics
Develop new ways of organizing based on horizontal collaboration, collective intelligence and the politics of everyday life
Stop the far right
Combat the politics of hate and fear with local policies to reduce inequality and promote the common good

In 2018 there were four subsequent Fearless Cities conferences around the world:

  1. New York, USA
  2. Warsaw, Poland
  3. Valparaíso, Chile
  4. Brussels, Belgium

Lisbon and Fearless Cities

An early callout for Lisbon groups to connect with Chilean FC conference in November 2018 by the Ecocity Lisboa group: Lisbon and Fearless Cities[8]

At the URBACT City Festival in Lisbon September 2018, Deputy Mayor of the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Paula Marques stated: “We need to fight the global system with participatory democracy at the level of cities. Going towards fearless cities is a long way and a long task”[9].

On November 29th 2019, Daniel Cruz[10] from BeC / FC was invited to the international seminar in Lisbon; "(Re)Scaling Networks in Portugal and Europe"[11]. The event was part of "Reclaim Europe!"[12], a project developed by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation[13] in Portugal with multiple local and international partners and happened in Lisbon University Institute of Social Sciences[14] (ICS) research group "Urban Transitions Hub" [15]. Other speakers included Talía Rangil from Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)[16] and Gil Penha-Lopes[17] from ECOLISE[18]. A short video section of the event is available[19].

Suggested key readings & links

Link to other Wiki-pages

Further reading




Academic Articles

Blog Posts


  1. http://fearlesscities.com/en/about-fearless-cities. Accessed Nov 13th 2019.
  2. https://barcelonaencomu.cat/. Accessed Nov 13th 2019.
  3. Left-wing victory in Catalonia's municipal elections and increase of self-determination representatives. Accessed Nov 13th 2019. https://www.catalannews.com/politics/item/left-wing-victory-in-catalonia-s-municipal-elections-and-increase-of-self-determination-representatives
  4. Shea Baird, K., 2015. Published online in Red Pepper. Rebel cities: the citizen platforms in power. Accessed Nov 13th 2019. https://www.redpepper.org.uk/rebel-cities-the-citizen-platforms-in-power/
  5. Guardian: Barcelona mayor-elect Ada Colau calls for more 'feminised' democracy. Accessed Nov 13th 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/07/barcelona-mayor-ada-colau-feminised-democracy
  6. Democracy Now!: From Occupying Banks to City Hall: Meet Barcelona’s New Mayor Ada Colau. Accessed Nov 13th 2019. https://www.democracynow.org/2015/6/5/from_occupying_banks_to_city_hall
  7. http://2017.fearlesscities.com/. Accessed Nov 13th 2019.
  8. https://ecocitylisboa.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/lisbon-fearless-cities/. Lisbon & Fearless Cities. Accessed Nov 13th 2019.
  9. http://www.cm-lisboa.pt/no_cache/noticias/detalhe/article/e-arrancou-o-urbac-city-festival. E arrancou o URBAC City Festival (Original in Portuguese, English translation by wiki editor) Lisbon City Hall website. Accessed Nov 13th 2019.
  10. https://twitter.com/dcruzf Daniel Cruz
  11. https://www.facebook.com/events/850238905378056/ (Re)Scaling Networks in Portugal and Europe
  12. https://fes-portugal.org/reclaim-europe/ Reclaim Europe!
  13. https://fes-portugal.org/seminario-internacional-rescaling-networks-in-portugal-and-europe-towards-new-forms-of-decision-making-29-11-2019-ics/ Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  14. https://www.ics.ulisboa.pt/ Lisbon University Institute of Social Sciences
  15. https://urbantransitionshub.org/ Urban Transitions Hub
  16. https://iclei-europe.org/ ICLEI
  17. https://ce3c.ciencias.ulisboa.pt/member/gilpenhalopes Gil Penha-Lopes
  18. https://www.ecolise.eu/ ECOLISE
  19. https://www.facebook.com/n30and20/videos/429361721341616/ Fearless Cities video presentation, November 2019. From N30 & 20