Pittsburgh has entered a partnership with a similarly-sized German city to foster shared work around climate technologies, the economy, and administrative support.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey this morning met with Dortmund's mayor, Thomas Westphal, in a Zoom meeting that served as the formal signing ceremony, according to a press release.
This transatlantic innovation and climate partnership between Pittsburgh and Dortmund was developed with help from the Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh, an organization that connects Pittsburgh with international partner cities. The association helps develop relationships that can address and solve global challenges, as well as collaborate on areas of commerce, culture, and education.
While not legally binding, an MOU allows two parties to agree on outlined plans for a common line of action and is a popular tool in international relations.
Pittsburgh currently has more than a dozen similar partnerships around the world. Most recently in 2020, SCAP helped facilitate a similar partnership between Pittsburgh and Glasgow, Scotland.
SCAP began facilitating the agreement between Pittsburgh and Dortmund in 2018. In April and May of this year, the cities hosted exchanges, funded by the European Union’s International Urban Regional Cooperation program, that prompted them to formally commit to a continued partnership.
“This agreement empowers our two Cities and will help guide our exchanges and city-to-city cooperation,” Gainey says in the release. “Together we will continue to pursue cooperation on climate technologies, the economy, and a just transition for our post-industrial cities to ensure all our residents have opportunities to thrive.”
“Many municipal issues lend themselves to thinking outside the box and adopting solutions from other cities or working on them together,” added Westphal. “In the spirit of urban diplomacy, the networking of cities worldwide is a necessary way to constantly improve as a municipality, but also to be able to provide inspiration for other regions.”
Pittsburgh and Dortmund are both post-industrial cities and have much in common, despite being over 4,000 miles away. While Pittsburgh has historically been known as the city of steel, Dortmund is known as a city of coal, iron, and beer. Located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Dortmund has multiple rivers running through it and a 1,100-year-old history.
The memorandum between the two cities takes effect immediately and will continue until Dec. 31, 2025, pending renewal.