City to city twinning relationships: Are there measurable benefits?

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Coltman, Linda
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Logistical, economical, societal, human, cultural, political, legal and trade issues, associated with borders and border-crossing are a matter of daily consideration for border cities such as ours. However, some matters of municipal consideration arguably seek to transcend borders such as with the work of the Windsor’s International Relations Committee (IRC) respective of its twin-city undertakings. However, data relating to the benefits to be accrued from the establishment and maintenance of twin-city relationships is generally found to be lacking the world over. As such, this research was undertaken to fill in gaps in the field. Given that the City of Windsor has established and maintained long-standing relationships with a dozen international cities, this project aims at identifying the benefits of these associations. Archived records dating from 1978 were examined in combination with a general literature review of other Canadian and international twin-city agreements and outcomes, completing the first stage of this research. In undertaking an interview phase and speaking to people with knowledge of twin-city relationships, assessments will be made as to whether or not a schema to measure the value of these relationships currently exists. Evidence of such has not been found to date and so, additional research is in the process of being conducted directed at identifying methods which might be employed to measure the value of said twinning relationships in terms of their cultural, economic and social metrics. Interviews will be conducted with past and present members of the IRC, politicians, political staff and other policy elites and, possibly, representatives of Windsor’s twin-cities. Ultimately research outcomes will be directed towards employing a methodology to assess the value of the twin-city relationships and, as such, the research will contribute insight on the benefits and outcomes of city to city twinning relationships.