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City-Led Incident Response

City-Led Incident Response

The motive behind hate- and extremist-driven attacks is not just to inflict violence, but to create societal fear and division. In the immediate aftermath of an attack, national authorities take the lead in emergency responses, reinforcing public safety and launching criminal investigations. However, as the days, weeks and months progress, the impact of an attack can run deep, causing untold social consequences across communities and geographic borders. Communities, no matter how resilient, need strong local leadership and a coordinated, sustained, multi-agency response to help them heal, recover and rebuild.

Transatlantic Dialogue on City-Led Response

In May 2023, more than 80 mayors, national and local officials, law enforcement, academics, practitioners, and civil society from across Europe and North America gathered in Oslo for a workshop on Responding to Extremist and Hate-Motivated Violence: Building Strong and Resilient Communities. Hosted by Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen, the workshop was an opportunity to explore how city-led prevention measures, such as those aimed building social cohesion, resilience and trust-based relationships with key community stakeholders, can not only support healing for those affected, but also mitigate the risk that an attack can create new or exacerbate existing social, political or communal divides.

A Guide for City-Led Response

This Strong Cities Guide for City-Led Response support mayors, other subnational officials and the local and state governments they lead, in formulating a sensitive and effective response in the wake of a hate- or violent extremism-motivated attack, incident or crisis.

This Guide compiles good practice examples and learnings on key aspects of response, from surveying the issues in a community through to evaluating and sharing learnings from interventions at different levels. The Guide also offers officials a framework through which to develop and deliver activities in the wake of such an attack, incident or other crisis in a way that complements, rather than duplicates, national government action.


The workshop included a tour of the island of Utøya, one of two sites attacked by a Norwegian national on 22 July 2011, killing a total of 77 people. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the extensive consultation process with families of victims and survivors that reimagined Utøya as both a memorial and a center for learning, democracy promotion and youth engagement.

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Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.