World Bank on 24 September 2015 released a report entitled Leveraging Urbanisation in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability.
The report provided original empirical and diagnostic analysis of urbanization and related economic trends in the South Asia region.
Also, it also discussed in detail the key policy areas, the most fundamental being urban governance and finance, where actions must be taken to make cities more prosperous and livable.
Highlights of the report
• South Asia’s urban population grew by 130 million between 2001 and 2011-it is more than the entire population of Japan- and is poised to grow by almost 250 million by 2030.
• Manufacturing and services account for more than 80 percent of the region’s GDP.
• Urabnisation provides South Asian countries with the potential to transform their economies to join the ranks of richer nations in both prosperity and livability but the region has struggled to make the most out of it as its urbanization has been messy and hidden.
• Urban areas expanded at just over 5 percent a year in 1999-2010, against urban population growth for the region of a little less than 2.5 percent a year.
• As a result, an estimated 130 million people, at least, are living in slums characterized by poor quality housing in often hazardous areas and a lack of basic services.
• Cities grew about twice as fast in area as they grew in population, which suggests declining average city population densities and increasing sprawl.
Remedies suggested by the repot
• 800 billion US dollars, at constant prices, should be invested in the development of infrastructure between 2010 and 2050.
• 203 million additional housing units will be required over the period 2010-2050.
• To improve the situation, policy makers must address 3 fundamental urban governance deficits viz., empowerment, resources and availability.
• Policy makers are also advised to focus on urban connectivity, land and housing policy reforms and improved strategies to effectively tackle natural disasters and climate change.
Report with respect to India
• 13.7 percent of urban population or 1 in 7 in urban areas live below the poverty line in the country compared to 13.1 percent in Pakistan.
• Among the very poorest, under 5 mortality rate is higher in urban than in rural settings.
• Delhi’s air pollution (PM 2.5 concentration) is almost three times higher than in Beijing giving it the dubious distinction of being the world’s most polluted city.
• For the 12 largest Indian cities the proportion of built-up area outside a city’s official boundaries exceeds that within its boundaries.
• Governments at all levels should conduct risk assessments form potential natural hazards especially in cities that lie along the Himalayan range that at risk of earthquakes and heavy inland flooding.
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What: Released by World Bank
When: 24 September 2015