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Our Mission

The Charter Cities Institute is empowering new cities with better governance to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty. CCI is a nonprofit dedicated to building the ecosystem for charter cities—new cities granted a special jurisdiction to create a new governance system.

How the Charter Cities Institute is building the ecosystem for charter cities:


Creating legal, regulatory, and planning frameworks needed for rapid urban growth.


Influencing the global agenda through practical and academic research, engagement, and partnerships.


Advising and convening key stakeholders like governments, new city developers, and multilateral institutions.

What We Do

The process to develop each new charter city is complex and requires the collaboration of numerous stakeholders. To achieve our mission, the Charter Cities Institute helps coordinate these efforts and accelerate the development of charter cities with:

Research & Technical Assistance:  Our team does the research to guide new city developers and governments on how to carry out these projects. We work with them directly to develop the legal frameworks to grant charter cities an independent jurisdiction and to implement the new city’s governance structure. Our research aims to establish the economic case for charter cities and inform the decisions of key stakeholders.

‍Partnerships & Events:  We bring together key stakeholders from around the world, such as government officials, city developers, and individuals passionate about improving governance, through events and partnerships. We aim to build relationships and create charter city collaborations to build momentum for this movement. Our events include regular charter city summits, dinner event series, and meetups in cities globally.

Media:  We create content to build awareness for the charter cities movement and make our ideas accessible to a wider audience. Our blog, videos, and podcast offer real-time insight into how we think about charter cities, experiments in governance, and developmental case studies from around the world. CCI’s newsletter gives an overview of our work and commentary on charter cities-adjacent activity around the world.

Our History

In 2009, Nobel Laureate Paul Romer gave his famous TED talk introducing the concept of charter cities to the world. Since then, organizations across every continent have come together in a race to build the world’s first successful series of charter cities.

The Charter Cities Institute started with an insight: numerous stakeholders were interested in charter cities and approaching the idea from different angles, but there were limited avenues of coordination or communication between them.

Individuals and organizations working in real estate, government, finance, and international development were independently discovering the potential of new cities to chart new developmental courses in countries across the world. Simultaneously, Mark Lutter, founder of the Charter Cities Institute, realized there was an opportunity for a new organization to play a coordinating role between each of these disparate groups. The goal was simple: to bring each stakeholder to the table and in doing so, accelerate the development of charter cities.


Founded in 2017, the Charter Cities Institute stands the focal point for all parts of the charter cities ecosystem. Our efforts have since expanded to include technical assistance to new city projects to design and implement their governance systems, research on governance and institutions, and our annual Charter Cities Conference.

Our Team

We’re a team of academics, economists, entrepreneurs, futurists, humanists, technologists, urbanists, and experimental thinkers focused on the development of charter cities.
Institute Staff

Executive Director

Head of Communications and General Counsel

Head of Operations

headshot Joe Milligan

Director of Development

Senior Advisor, Government Relations

Senior Advisor, Africa

Head of Research

Africa Lead

Senior Researcher

Senior Special Projects Manager

Operations Manager

Quantitative Researcher

Urban Researcher

Eva Klaus Headshot


Gemma Headshot

Marketing & Communications Manager

Partnerships Associate

Special Projects Associate

Graphic Designer

Special Projects Consultant

Research Funding Officer

Michael Muthukrishna

Non-Resident Fellow

Visiting Fellow


Video Production Intern

Partnerships Intern

Board Of Directors


Board Member

Board Member

Image of David Nott

Board Member

Board Of Advisors


Read the latest expert analysis and commentary on new cities, charter cities, economic zones, and innovations in governance.