This paper presents a new formulation and synthesis approach for stabilizing cooperative distributed model predictive control (MPC) for networks of linear systems, which are coupled in their dynamics. The controller is defined by a network-wide constrained optimal control problem, which is solved online by distributed optimization. The main challenge is the definition of a global MPC problem, which both defines a stabilizing control law and is amenable to distributed optimization, i.e., can be split into a number of appropriately coupled subproblems. For such a combination of stability and structure, we propose the use of a separable terminal cost function, combined with novel time-varying local terminal sets. For synthesis, we introduce a method that allows for constructing these components in a completely distributed way, without central coordination. The paper covers the nominal case in detail and discusses the extension of the methodology to reference tracking. Closed-loop functionality of the controller is illustrated by a numerical example, which highlights the effectiveness of the proposed controller and its time-varying local terminal sets. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.