Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Southern Africa \ 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.


Financing the inclusive city: the catalytic role of community savings

Global conversations around financing urban development typically neglect the importance of coordinating the activities of different stakeholders behind a shared vision for their city. In particular, low-income and other marginalized groups must be seen as entrepreneurs and partners in service delivery to enhance the efficacy of resource use and to reduce poverty. This paper explores the creation of non-traditional business models and alliances to invest in informal settlements. It presents examples from India, Kenya, Pakistan, Thailand and Zimbabwe, where local authorities, commercial banks and other formal actors have co-financed and co-delivered urban plans, housing and infrastructure through collaborations with organized groups of the urban poor. These groups make three critical contributions: financial resources, detailed information on the composition of informal settlements, and capabilities for collective decision-making and action. These contributions are underpinned by the financial and social capital developed through collective saving, and enable the delivery of complex urban improvements at scale.

Author: Wayne Shand, Sarah Colenbrander Publisher: Environment and Development Publication year: 2018

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