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.



Institutional Collective Action During COVID-19: Lessons in Local Economic Development

At this point, little is known about local government responses to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. This crisis is happening on Main Streets around the nation. This article examines how some local governments are taking collective action in partnership with other governments as well as with organizations at the local and regional levels. What is unique is that collective action is rare as it relates to traditional economic development practices, yet it is occurring and leading to offerings of multi-institutional grants and low-interest loans. However, some newer supply- and demand-side actions are the result of a lack of resources and need for expediency. Practitioners can learn about the collaborative economic development actions that governments are taking and how these partnerships can stabilize their local economies.

Author: Darrin H. E. Wilson Brad A. M. Johnson Eric Stokan Michael Overton Publisher: Wiley Online Library Publication year: 2020

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

Sustainable Cities: Canadian Reality or Urban Myth?

Although it is now over two decades since the Brundtland Commission report (1987) put sustainable development on the political map, concern continues in Canada that the federal government is failing to adequately implement its own commitments to tackling the ecological challenges posed by rapid urban expansion. Our analysis identifies a number of road blocks, missed opportunities and mistakes that have limited progress and many of these are traced back to the failure of national government to empower local municipal governments, as advocated by Brundtland and subsequent international initiatives, in particular ‘Agenda 21’ which we revisit in some detail as a basis for analysis. As well as reviewing the federal government’s role in Canada, the paper explores the potential for more sustainable urban growth in the context of broader reforms

Author: Christopher Stoney, Robert Hilton Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009

Defining a Canadian approach to municipal consolidation in major city-regions

Where there is a central government with an exclusive mandate over municipalities, along with a state executive structure using the Westminster model, then the consolidation of squabbling municipalities within metropolitan boundaries becomes a distinct possibility A general model of municipal restructuring for the Canadian metropolis is more widespread than the superficially unique circumstances of each case might suggest. The thinking here is informed by Clarence Stone’s urban regime model, which helps to clarify what influences constituted the political tipping point for central government action. The paper focuses primarily on the Toronto and Montreal city-regional municipal consolidations at the end of the last century. It is argued that the decisive element in setting the stage for significant change lay in the pervasive influence of corporate Canada in generally shaping provincial political discourse. What has not previously been of much interest for investigators is the matter of direct consequences for the low politics of city-regional governance. As will be seen, they were both tangible and considerable.

Author: Jim Lightbody Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum: An Overview

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) was established in 1994, coinciding with rapid moves towards decentralisation at that time, especially in Commonwealth Africa. It uniquely brings together national associations of local government and individual councils, ministries responsible for local government, and training and research institutes with an interest in local government, on a common platform. This reflects an understanding that local government needs effective central government and vice versa if decentralisation is to be truly successful, and that research, training and practice need to be brought together in a constructive and creative way. CLGF’s developmental work can be divided into three main categories: Promotion and advocacy of local democracy and good governance, Exchange of experience and Capacity building.This article provides a brief overview of the activities and projects which CLGF has underway in respect of these objectives. It will be complemented by more detailed papers on specific programmes and projects in this and future issues of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.

Author: Lucy Slack Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008

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