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.


Governing urban accessibility: moving beyond transport and mobility

Access to people, goods, ideas and services is the basis of economic development in cities. The better this access, the greater the economic benefits through economies of scale, agglomeration effects and networking advantages. The way in which cities facilitate accessibility also impacts directly on other key aspects of human development, social inclusion and well-being. Accessibility is created through a complex interplay of urban form and transport systems. Thus, governing urban accessibility requires moving beyond conventional urban transport considerations linked to mobility and movement. Such a re-framing implies a far greater recognition of urban form characteristics like land use, distribution of densities and urban design, in addition to transport characteristics like infrastructures, service levels and travel speeds. A new interface between these characteristics has emerged as a result of shared mobility systems, putting additional pressure on city governments to act as system integrators. Based on a literature review, empirical insights from a global survey and the case-study cities of London, NYC and Berlin, this paper explores the institutional capacities of shifting from governing urban transport to urban accessibility. The evidence shows that there are entrenched misalignments which may impact negatively on the capacity to pair planning and policies essential for delivering better accessibility. Furthermore, it is clear that “hierarchies” and “networks” are not mutually exclusive when it comes to integrated governance of accessibility. The findings also suggest that cities may be better equipped to integrate shared mobility and consider mobility as a service than to pursue more wide-ranging metropolitan accessibility policies.

Author: Philipp Rode & Nuno F. da Cruz Publisher: Applied Mobilities Publication year: 2018

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