Various cellular processes (including cell motility) are driven by the regulated, polarized assembly of actin filaments into distinct force-producing arrays of defined size and architecture. Branched, linear, contractile and cytosolic arrays coexist in vivo, and cells intricately control the number, length and assembly rate of filaments in these arrays. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have revealed novel molecular mechanisms that regulate the number of filament barbed and pointed ends and their respective assembly and disassembly rates, thus defining classes of dynamically different filaments, which coexist in the same cell. We propose that a global treadmilling process, in which a steady-state amount of polymerizable actin monomers is established by the dynamics of each network, is responsible for defining the size and turnover of coexisting actin networks. Furthermore, signal-induced changes in the partitioning of actin to distinct arrays (mediated by RHO GTPases) result in the establishment of various steady-state concentrations of polymerizable monomers, thereby globally influencing the growth rate of actin filaments.