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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

Effective urban practices

Despite the current urban trends in developing countries, in every city there are rays of hope, most visibly in an outpouring of promising new development programs. The 30 urban practices that are documented in this Monograph are examples of interventions that resulted in significant improvements to the physical. economic and social environment of cities and their inhabitants, and that have the potential for wide-scale adaptation. Summarized from secondary sources, the case studies were evaluated in their own contextual framework.

The case studies describe initiatives that further the goal of making cities more socially equitable, economically viable, politically participatory and ecologically sustainable. They have all been evaluated as initiatives or projects that successfully solved an urban problem, without creating or promoting other unintended problems. In order to screen out policies and projects that benefit only the elite, that pollute the environment. or that are too costly to be replicated on a mass scale, the various case studies have been evaluated for their social equity, ecological sustainability, and economic viability.

To understand what makes a solution successful, it should be evaluated in its contextual framework. The information in each case study was summarized from in-depth analysis of the selected urban solution written by the implementing organization, a research institution within the same city, or by an international agency. The case studies have been edited to follow a consistent format. They describe the background and context, the project description, obstacles, impact and how the impact has been, or could be scaled up.

The case studies attempt to answer the crucial question: "Who has benefited from this initiative?" Some initiatives have provoked structural changes, others have brought immediate results to some people's daily lives, and others have started a transformation process that will take years to mature. Thus, in evaluating the implementation of an innovation, its aims and expectations were considered. Table 3 on page 17 enumerates the criteria used for identifying what made a project effective and innovative and distinguishes among three types of measures: impact. operational, and value-based. Although each case study does not meet all of the listed criteria simultaneously, each fulfills most of the dimensions.

Since the objective of this Monograph is to demonstrate how to increase the impact of micro-scale practices, the examples were also chosen on the basis of their replicability, whether in a similar or adapted form. Those that are too situationally or culturally specific to be useful in another context were not considered.

Table 3 Criteria for Evaluating the Success of Urban Innovations

Overall Criterion

The innovation has succeeded in making better use of human, natural, and financial resources to meet human needs.

Impact Criteria



The innovation addresses a fundamental urban problem for the 21st century.


A leap of creativity was required to generate the new program or process.


The net benefits for those affected, regardless of how many, are clear and profound.


There is clear potential for broad impact.

Proven Merit:

There is a good evidence that the innovation is workable and can serve as a "tried and tested" model of success.

Lasting Changes:

There is evidence of lasting change in: legislation, by-laws(Sustainability) and standards, social policies, strategies, management practices, governance, revenue utilization and allocation, or the logic of problem-solving.

Operational Criteria


Cost Effectiveness:

The approach or project is operationally cost effective.


The innovation does not require inaccessible technology, skills or capital to implement.


The innovation is participatory and is based on partnerships among at least two or more of the sectors: government, non governmental organizations, community based organizations, private sector, academia, and media.


The innovation shows promise of inspiring successful adaptation in other countries.


The creative approach has the potential to be on-going.

Value Criteria


Socially Equitable:

The innovation addresses the redistribution of the centers of wealth and entrenched political power.

Economically Viable:

The costs are low enough for the innovation to be implemented on a mass scale

Politically Participatory:

The decision-making process is democratic and involves the people whose lives are most directly affected.

Ecologically Sustainable:

The initiative regenerates the urban environment.

Culturally Adaptable:

The innovation is culturally sensitive and flexible enough to be applicable in other contexts.