Prosperous and well-managed urban areas reduce poverty, promote economic growth and enhance security. No country has ever achieved a high-income status without urbanising. High-income countries typically achieve urbanisation rates above 70%. The clustering of economic activities that occurs in urban areas results in better economies of scale – cities are more cost-efficient and their ecological footprint smaller due to a density of transport, infrastructure and public services.
When the urbanisation process is not managed well however, inequality and experiences of poverty are starker, giving way to irreversible environmental damage, urban fragility, violence, crime, terrorism and unmanaged waves of migration. These divisive impacts can have ripple effects throughout an entire nation, triggering stability issues right across the urban-rural spectrum.
This paper offers six strategies to underpin better management of urbanisation. For each strategy we provide a summary of key evidence and challenges and identify strategic potential entry points for development actors to target their investment and programs. Case studies are incorporated throughout the paper, highlighting good practices through an integrated programming approach.