Directions in Urban Development

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These briefs address emerging trends and topics of relevance to cities, towns, national governments and development agencies as they face the challenges of urbanization. This series draws attention to new research and policy issues with references and resources for researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners alike who will wish to further explore these, topics.

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  • Publication
    The Global City Indicators Program : A More Credible Voice for Cities
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-06) Bhada, Perinaz
    The Global City Indicators Program (GCIP) is a decentralized, city-led initiative that enables cities to measure, report, and improve their performance and quality of life, facilitate capacity building, and share best practices through an easy-to-use web portal. Managing cities effectively is critical and becoming more complex as population growth and economic development are taking place in urban areas. Today's big challenges, such as poverty reduction, economic development, climate change, and the creation and maintenance of an inclusive and peaceful society, will all need to be met through the responses of cities. So too will the day-to-day challenges of garbage collection, responding to the house on fire and larger disasters, and facilitating the provision of water, electricity, education, health care, and the myriad of other services that make life more productive and enjoyable. Standardized indicators are essential in order to measure the performance of cities, capture trends and developments, and support cities in becoming global partners.
  • Publication
    Infrastructure and Heritage Conservation : Opportunities for Urban Revitilization and Economic Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-02) Ebbe, Katrinka
    Cultural endowments such as traditional architecture, unique streetscapes, and historic sites are increasingly recognized as important economic resources in both developed and developing countries. Cities are often an important focal point for development based on these resources because they provide concentrations of heritage assets, infrastructure services, private sector activity, and human resources. Improving the conservation and management of urban heritage is not only important for preserving its historic significance, but also for its potential to increase income-earning opportunities, city livability, and competitiveness. Many of the World Bank's client countries have been successful in supporting cultural heritage activities within some large infrastructure projects.
  • Publication
    Impacts of Financial, Food, and Fuel Crisis on the Urban Poor
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-12) Baker, Judy L.
    The effects of the recent financial crisis are only beginning to be felt in many developing countries, but economic activity is declining rapidly with far reaching impacts. This crisis comes at a time when most countries are still struggling with the impacts of rising food and fuel prices. Though global food and fuel prices have softened somewhat in recent months from the highs earlier in 2008, there has been much volatility and they are anticipated to remain high over the medium term. It is estimated that the high food and fuel prices alone have increased the number of extremely poor in the world by at least 100 million. While impacts of the crises affect both urban and rural populations, the urban poor have been hit hardest in this recent food and fuel crisis, and in previous financial crisis, given their heavy reliance on the cash economy, no agricultural production to fall back on, and wage reductions and employment losses at urban based industries. This has resulted in social unrest in a number of cities earlier in 2008 all over the developing world.
  • Publication
    City-Regions : Emerging Lessons from England
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Larkin, Kieran; Marshall, Adam
    The emergence of city-regions in England offers some useful lessons for the World Bank partners in developing countries. The city-region approach, as applied in England touches upon issues of decentralization, intergovernmental fiscal relations, governance, and the need to realign outdated administrative arrangements with a metropolitan area's economic footprint, among other highly relevant topics for rapidly urbanizing cities in developing countries. As a concept, city-regions are designed to promote cross-boundary collaboration across large urban areas. They aim to facilitate horizontal and vertical co-ordination between multiple jurisdictions. They advance the concept of an appropriate spatial scale for economic development functions such as transport, housing and training. They capture urban hinterlands, as well as core cities. This note explains: 1) the emergence of city-regions in England, 2) the current policy framework in England, 3) a case study of Greater Manchester, 4) city-region contracts as a policy tool to codify intergovernmental institutional arrangements, and 5) transferable lessons.