Abstract: Domestic policies and domestic legal rules largely determine the legal status of cities, and these rules have a major influence on both the experience of city life and the practice of local self-government. Today, this traditional way of creating local government law is changing. Parties negotiating international trade agreements, international tribunals arbitrating commercial disputes, United Nations' rapporteurs investigating compliance with human rights obligations, and international financial institutions formulating development policy are expressing interest in the legal relationship between cities and their national governments. This new development is examined by way of three goals. First, it is demonstrated that a focus on international local government differs from other ways in which scholars have begun to think about cities and their place in the world. It is explained that the study of international local government law emphasizes cities' roles as simultaneously subordinate domestic governments and independent international actors. Second, the topic of international local government law is introduced into the field of international law. Focus is on decisions by international arbitration tribunals regulating cities' ability to control land use development. Finally, an analytic framework for evaluating the content of international local government law at this initial stage of its development is proposed.