Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Americas \ Cities and urbanisation

In 2014, 54% of the global population was living in urban areas and this is predicted to rise to 66% by 2050. The characteristics of cities differ greatly across countries and regions of the Commonwealth and some issues facing large and megacities will differ from those faced by secondary cities and towns and across the Commonwealth, the degree of urbanisation varies significantly. Whilst 38.1% of the population of the Commonwealth lived in urban settlements in 2014, Commonwealth Europe is 82% urban and Commonwealth South-East Asia 78% with Commonwealth Africa 41%, Commonwealth South Asia 33% and the Commonwealth Pacific Islands 18% urban. Achievement of SDG 11 will require cities to actively address the key dimensions of sustainable development – the economy, the society and the environment and to be inclusive, and proactive to ensure safety of all citizens. Subthemes includes urbanisation and migration, urban planning, informal settlements, formal and informal urban economy, disaster risk reduction and emergency planning, safety and security in cities, and smart cities and ICT.

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Metropolitan Governance Principles and Practice Prepared for the Fiscal Management Division

This paper identifies a range of governance mechanisms to support the efficient and equitable provision of public services and improve policy coordination in metropolitan areas. It provides examples from cities in the Global North and Global South, and takes a closer look at metropolitan governance in Brazil, where the constitution makes it challenging to create formal metropolitan structures. The paper suggests that the choice of metropolitan governance structure depends upon how one weighs conflicting considerations—prioritizing efficiency, access, and accountability points to smaller local government units whereas economies of scale, externalities, and equity suggest larger governments. The review of metropolitan governance models does not point to one model that could work everywhere because national and local context matter. Nevertheless, the paper suggests that countries should develop more effective systems of governance for metropolitan areas if they want to improve service delivery, cost sharing, and decision-making. A regional structure that encompasses the entire economic region would ensure that services are delivered in a coordinated fashion across municipal boundaries and improve the process as a whole by reaping the benefits of economies of scale and internalizing externalities.

Author: Enid Slack Publisher: Inter-American Development Bank Publication year: 2019


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