Over the past decades the dissemination of development concepts, programs, strategies
and "best" practices across localities has intensified as a result of globalization.
Similar policies are often adopted from remarkably different socio-economic urban
contexts in ways that the original meaning, philosophical background and policy aims
are transformed and tailored to local specificities. The result of this adoption process
and the types of adopted policies have a significant impact on the practice of local
development and, consequently, on urban development trends. Yet the concept of urban
policy mobilities has become recognised by geographical research only after the millennium.The
aim of this paper is to discuss some of the concepts and research methods of the diverse
approaches within the literature of urban policy mobilities. After a brief definition
of urban policies and a summary of their main characteristics, four approaches are
discussed in depth: (1) spatial diffusion models, ( 2) communication models and spatial
mobility of knowledge, (3) policy-setting theories and the policy cycle, and (4) urban
policy mobilities. The paper identifies the analytical strengths and limitations of
these approaches in explaining the spread of urban policies to new localities. It
pays special attention to the following questions: if urban policy is interpreted
as a set of knowledge that can be communicated, how social, cultural, and other filters,
along with the intentions of the actors involved, influence the way it gets mobilised?
What is the role of personal contacts in the process? Which phases of the policy cycle
provide the most space for the acquisition of a new policy? How are these questions
affected by time constraints and the acceleration of the policy-making process?As
the results of the paper highlight, the mobilisation of urban policies and "best practices"
is a process shaped by a large number of actors with different knowledge, interests
and motivations. Hence, the mobilisation of a policy depends not only on its success
and adaptability, but on the intentions, motivations, and background knowledge of
the actors, as well as the local circumstances of urban development.