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.

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Capital cities and urban sustainability

Capital Cities and Urban Sustainability examines how capital cities use their unique hub resources to develop and disseminate innovative policy solutions to promote sustainability. Cities are taking a leading role in defining a sustainable future at a time when national, state, and regional governments in several countries do not provide sufficient leadership. Capital cities stand out among cities as likely leading drivers in the effort to empower sustainable innovation as they provide a hub for connecting a variety of key constituencies. While acknowledging the successes capital cities have achieved, the international, multi-disciplinary contributors to this work discuss how there is room to do more and improve. The promotion of specific sustainability policies in crucial areas such as clean water provision, high tech innovation, public procurement contracting, and improving flood control in capital cities is examined through various global case studies. The examples range from relatively rich capital cities, such as Copenhagen, where the well-financed hub would be expected to succeed in generating sustainable policies, to poorer cities such as Phnom Penh, where such an optimistic outcome can seem less likely.

Author: Robert W Orttung Publisher: Routledge Publication year: 2019


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


BOOK REVIEW: Governing Cities in a Global Era: Urban Innovation, Competition and Democratic Reform (edited by Robin Hambleton and Jill Simone Gross)

Robin Hambleton and Jill Simone Gross have assembled a collection of papers which powerfully supports their argument that “those concerned with the future of cities, whether as academics or practitioners, should devote more time to instrumental learning from abroad.” Contributions range widely from the influence of globalisation and urbanisation, to the importance of understanding the unique impact of our own context; from innovation in the leading ‘world cities’ of the developed world, to the seemingly intractable problems of cities in the developing world; from celebrating the importance of a shift from government to governance, to contributions highlighting the potential of governance to undermine local democracy; and from the role of leadership to the dangers of persistent managerialism.

Author: Peter McKinlay Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


Governing Cities in a Global Era: Urban Innovation, Competition and Democratic Reform (edited by Robin Hambleton and Jill Simone Gross)

This book is about the role that ideas, institutions, and actors play in structuring how we govern cities and, more specifically, what projects or paths are taken. Global changes require that we rethink governance and urban policy, and that we do so through the dual lens of theory and practice.

Author: Hambleton, R., Gross, Jill Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Publication year: 2007


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