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close this book Monograph on the inter-regional exchange and transfer of effective practices on urban management
View the document Introduction
View the document Foreword
View the document List of 30 case studies on effective urban practices
View the document Background
View the document Introduction
View the document The challenges of urban growth
View the document A new vision for sustainable human development
View the document Obstacles to urban transformation
View the document Towards a sustainable future
View the document Importance of sharing approaches that work
View the document Effective urban practices
View the document Analysis and lessons learned from thc case studies
View the document South - south cooperation: a basis for transferring effective practices
View the document Conclusions
Open this folder and view contents Annex - 30 case studies on effective urban practices

Importance of sharing approaches that work

In these times of severe resource constraints, citizens need to discover new ways to learn from each other's successes and to multiply the impact of approaches that work. The need to share what has worked from one city to another has become important as cities face common issues, challenges and opportunities.

Similar Issues

Today's social' environmental and economic challenges are considerable. They are also common to many cities. In a recent survey by the United Nations Development Programme, mayors from 135 cities worldwide rated the following urban problems listed below in Table 2 as 'most severe'.

Table 2 Mayors' Survey of Most Severe Problems in Urban Areas



Inadequate Housing


Garbage Disposal






Sanitation / Sewerage


Air Pollution


Inadequate Transportation


Inadequate Water Supply


Inadequate Social Services


Civil Apathy



1 4%

Cooperative Solutions

It is through cross-cultural learning, replication and adaptation that effective urban practices can have a significant and sustainable impact on our cities. Even if they are small in scale, through replication, tested solutions multiply their effect by changing broader practice. Micro-level change matters in several ways: first, through transfers and adaptation, they can cause a ripple effect; second, by facilitating system-challenging transfers, the impact of small scale success becomes great; and third, micro-revolutions can promote macro-level institutional innovation when they get incorporated into public policy.

Peer-to-peer learning promotes the kind of technical cooperation, as opposed to technical assistance, that leads to appropriate adaptation, new problem solving, and longer term relationships between innovators. The teaching and mentoring is done by those who have first hand experience of the problem, and who have invented and implemented the solution. However, without a mechanism for recording and exchanging successes and failures. innovations become unknown when funding agencies move on to other projects, and the chance for achieving scale and having a major impact is lost. This is unacceptable in today's climate of exacerbated social needs and extreme budgetary constraints.

It is now conspicuously clear that the innovation diffusion process is not self- propelling. It is time to take a strategic look at how the process can be supported and stimulated so that urban leaders and practitioners can develop more effective cross sectoral partnerships and participate more efficiently in technical cooperation. Without sharing, according to Robert Davies, "these innovations will remain islands of excellence in a sea of poverty.