New book sheds light on twin cities – they are interdependent and often characterised by unequal relationships

There are roughly 100 twin cities across the world. A newly published book now shows that they share many similarities. Twin cities do not merge, they are persistent: once started their interdependent coexistence, they continue developing side by side. Often unequal, they experience tensions between inwardness and openness. Throughout history, some twin cities have also served as points for observing the first signs of conurbation.

Cross-border twin cities are points for the interchange of cultures and mutual familiarisation of peoples. Border twin cities are also points where international borders are tested and rendered mutable or even reinforced.  Twin-city relationships are dynamic and susceptible to various external factors, such as political and economic changes, technological advances, administrative reforms, wars and natural disasters.

“Twin cities have much to tell us about borders – municipal and international – and the ways and extent to which these are changing or remaining constant in the context of urbanisation, Europeanisation and globalisation,” says Postdoctoral Researcher Ekaterina Mikhailova from the University of Eastern Finland.

Published by Routledge and with geographer Ekaterina Mikhailova and historian John Garrard as the editors, Twin Cities: Urban Communities, Borders and Relationships over Time surveys internal and cross-border twin cities on all continents across the world. The authors of the case studies included in the book are internationally acclaimed scholars of urban history, economics, geography, planning, political science, sociology and anthropology.

The authors emphasise that twin cities are important also in today’s world. Twin cities can be found on every continent, and some of them are continuously expanding, rendering them an important factor in the world today. Twin cities come in different types: some are divided by local administrative borders, others by international ones. Some twin cities are planned twin cities expected to physically merge and declared twins to attempt control over the process, while others are engineered twin cities with their recent sense of togetherness resulting from transport engineering, such as bridges, tunnels and highways.

For further information, please contact:
Ekaterina Mikhailova,ekaterina.mikhailova(at),
John Garrard, j.a.garrard(at)

Twin Cities: Urban Communities, Borders and Relationships over Time, John Garrard and Ekaterina Mikhailova (eds) Routledge Global Urban Studies Series, London and New York 2019 ISBN 978-1-138-098000-8 (hbk); 978-1-315-10463-8 (ebk).