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close this bookPopulation, Urbanization and Quality of Life (HABITAT, 1994, 47 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentI. Urbanization: conceptual and measurement issues, temporal and spatial perspectives and the driving forces
View the documentII. Impact of urbanization on social change and modernization
View the documentIII. Impact of urbanization on demographic changes
View the documentIV. Impact of urbanization on individual and household income
View the documentV. The challenge: more efficient and effective urban management
View the documentVl. Conclusion
View the documentReferences
View the documentAnnex



National governments and international organizations are currently refocusing attention on urban areas in recognition of their fundamental role as engines of development. Within UNCHS (Habitat), there have been a number of responses, the major ones being: the Urban Management Programmer the Sustainable Cities Programmer the Community Development Programmer and the City Data Programme.

The Urban Management Programme (UMP) is a global undertaking by agencies of the United Nations and other external support agencies to strengthen the capacity of cities and towns to manage economic growth, social development, and the alleviation of poverty. Initiated in 1986 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the World Bank, the UMP assists cities in implementing innovative programmes in the areas of land management, infrastructure management, municipal finance and administration and urban environmental management.

Through its regional offices in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the UMP seeks to strengthen urban management by harnessing the skills and strategies of regional network of experts, communities, and organizations in the private sector. The goal of the programme is to strengthen this local and regional expertise.

Regional coordinators and their networks address the five programme areas in two ways:

· City and country consultations, which brings together national and local authorities, the private sector, community representatives, and other actors to discuss specific problems and propose reasoned solutions. Consultations are held at the request of a country or city, and often provide a forum for discussion on a cross-section of issues. These consultations generally result in a concrete action plan for policy and program change.

· Technical cooperation, in which the UMP uses its regional networks of expertise to follow-up on the consultations by providing technical advise and cooperation to implement action plans and to mobilize the resources needed for their implementation.

Through its nucleus teams in Nairobi and Washington, D. C., the UMP supports its regional programs and networks by synthesizing lessons learned, conducting state-of-the-art research, and supporting dissemination of programme materials.

During Phase I of the programme (1986-1991), the UMP recorded a number of achievements at the city, country, regional and global levels. At the city level, the UMP has worked with city officials and technical staff, community organizations, NGOs, and local enterprises (including the informal private sector). The main activities at this level included the preparations of city profiles and the development and strengthening of capacity for planning, implementing and managing development programmes at both the city and the community levels. Examples of specific activity areas covered include: preparation of environmental profiles; and activities aimed at strengthening land management, and garbage collection and disposal.

At the country level, the UMP has developed partnerships with officials and technical staff of central government agencies; individual professionals and their organizations in both the public and private sectors; associations of local authorities, research and training institutions; and trade, development and voluntary organization. Activities at this level have been aimed at developing and adapting appropriate urban policies, standards, systems and procedures, training programmes and training materials. Examples of specific activities undertaken include: redrafting of land and planning law, deregulation of land markets, urban redevelopment and land management, development of the fiscal cadastre, and preparation of a new environmental management act.

At the regional level, the UMP has collaborated with regional associations and networks of local authorities, professionals, NGOs, training/research institutions, and regional offices of bilateral and multilateral agencies. The main objective has been to extract valuable lessons from various countries and disseminate these lessons within the region or sub-regions through TCDC (technical cooperation among developing countries).

At the global level, the UMP has made contributions to the urban development agenda. The themes and components of the UMP have been reflected in a number of important agenda, documents, resolutions and discussions, including: the World Bank's policy paper entitled Urban Development Cooperation for the 1990s (1991); the UNDP's strategy paper entitled Cities, People and Poverty: Urban Development Cooperation for the 1990s (1991) and Agenda 21 (particularly Chapter 7), adopted at UNCED in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The UMP has also collaborated with a number of organizations on specific aspects of urban management, including OECD/DAC, ILO, UNV, IULA, UNEP, UNDP and the World Bank. In addition, the annual review meetings of the UMP have become an important forum for substantive aid coordination and donor consultation on the urban sector.

The Sustainable Cities Programme (SCP), which is the operational arm of the UMP environment component, was launched in August 1990. The aim of the SPC is to provide municipal authorities and their partners in the public, private, and community sectors with an improved environmental planning and management capacity. SCP demonstration projects result in broad-based environmental strategies, priority capital investment projects, and strengthened urban management capacities to mobilize all the public and private-sector actors whose cooperation isrequired for successful implementation. As a global programme, the SCP promotes the sharing of know-how between cities in different regions of the world. As an inter-organizational effort, SCP mobilizes technical and financial resources from both bilateral and multilateral sources. At the city level, SCP aims to: first, enhance the availability and use of natural resources in and around cities; secondly, reduce the exposure to environmental hazards in and around cities; thirdly, strengthen local capacity to plan, co-ordinate and manage development; and access to available knowledge and tools for environmental planning and management. City-level demonstration activities are under way in four cities, while six more are being prepared for launching during 1993-1994. These city-level activities include: preparation of city environmental profiles; the use of GIS and satellite remote sensing; developing approaches for addressing environmental health problems; and approaches for controlling air pollution. The implementation of SCP activities has involved significant inter-agency cooperation, particularly with UNDP, the World Bank, UNEP and WHO.

The Community Development Programme consists of two components: the Training Programm for Community Participation in Improving Human Settlements and the Community Management Programme. The Training Programme for Community Participation in Improving Human Settlements was initiated in 1984 with financial assistance from Danida. It is being implemented in three countries: Bolivia, Sri Lanka and Zambia. The Programme aims at strengthening the capacity of governmental agencies and urban communities to improve conditions in low-income settlements through participatory development activities. The immediate objective of the Programme is to make community participation an essential component of human settlements and urban management improvement schemes. The Programme's main emphasis is on training the staff members of local governments and housing agencies in the formulation and implementation of community participation strategies. Once trained, the staff members are expected to become facilitators of community action at the grass-roots level, directly assisting people in urban low income areas. Training activities take place on location in settlement projects. The training has a nonformal character, making it possible to adapt the training to the actual needs of the staff members involved in the projects and to obtain feedback from the communities. The Programme has produced a series of training modules, each dealing with a particular aspect of community participation. The series covers technical, social, organizational and communication aspects of community participation and deals with topics such as sites-and-services, settlement upgrading, how people can afford shelter, low-cost sanitation and drainage, project support communication, community leadership and problem-solving and decision making. These modules can be assembled or modified in different ways into training packages, depending on specific requirements. The experience gained under this programme is of invaluable importance to the Centre's efforts in implementing the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000, particularly in respect of the promotion of enabling shelter development strategies.

The Community Management Programme was officially launched in September 1991 and started operating in four countries (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana and Uganda) in early 1992. The Programme aims at reorienting local-government policies and practices in the provision of housing, community services and facilities towards a participatory approach. It is intended to achieve this through the strengthening of community organization, management and building skills. The programme is designed to contribute to the establishment of sustainable development in low-income settlements, with emphasis being placed on the creation of viable and replicable strategies for the involvement of communities in the provision of services. The Programme will also address the specific needs and priorities of women. It is envisaged that at the end of its first five years, the Community Management Programme will have benefited around 200,000 households from the poorest segments of the urban (as well as rural) population living in areas where government intervention is limited.

The City Data Programme (CDP) which was started in May 1991, focuses on cities above 100,000 in population size (there are about 4000 such cities in the world) and is concerned with collecting data on eight major dimensions of those cities: physical, geographical and climatic characteristics; population characteristics; household characteristics; land-use characteristics; housing and housing facilities; infrastructure and services; municipal revenue and expenditure; and environmental pollution.

The immediate objectives of the City Data Programme are: first, to design a global urban data collection and dissemination system which will provide optimal statistical support to urban policy-making and secondly, to disseminate urban information and tools for urban analysis through various media designed for specific target groups. In the long term, the goal of CDP is to facilitate the formulation of appropriate and responsive urban policies and, thus, contribute to the improvement of living and working conditions of urban populations.

The current phase of the programme consists of three inter-related projects. The first project will produce, firstly, a PC-application software entitled "UNCHS-CitiBase", secondly, a global data base on cities and, thirdly, a survey of urban data-collection activities by inter-governmental organizations and nongovernmental institutions. The second project, which is being carried out in eight cities in Kenya, will generate three outputs: first, a survey of city-level data collection practices in Kenya; secondly, a preliminary urban-data framework, including key urban indicators; and, thirdly, training workshops in the eight Kenyan cities. The third project is carried out in six pilot cities in Romania. The objectives and activities are almost identical to those of the Kenya Pilot Project.

Furthermore, at its fourteenth session in April 1993, the Commission on Human Settlements reviewed and issued a paper on Improvement of Municipal Management. It suggested a model of a new, broader concept of municipal management, based on the "enabling principles" as enshrined in the New Agenda for Human Settlements and affirmed in the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 and in Agenda 21. This calls for the full participation of all actors and groups contributing to the growth and development of cities in all phases of municipal management - viz., formulation of municipal policy, adoption of a broadbased strategic approach to the formulation of policy objectives, the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of municipal programmes and implementation plans to achieve these objectives; the enhancement of human, financial, physical and environmental resources; the improvement of municipal performance and the establishment of sustainable and productive partnerships within the municipality, between municipalities and at the national and international levels. It is through these enabling arrangements that the general principles of good management - transparency, accountability and efficiency will be able to be applied to management environments, where people are at the same time the determinants, the beneficiaries and the agents of improvements to bring about positive changes in the living and working conditions of the population.


A number of substantive lessons have been learned from the above programmes. The first set of lessons is in respect of land management. Recognizing the limitations of traditional approaches to urban land management, such as large-scale public land acquisition and development, the UMP has identified improved market mechanisms and approaches as better means of meeting the massive demand for urban land. The adoption, by governments, of enabling rather than controlling roles with regard to land management and property rights has also been found to be more useful. Also important in this context is the need to appreciate more fully informal land market mechanisms and to understand and build upon customary systems of land management. A land market assessment methodology has been developed as an important tool for understanding the constraints in land markets and in designing appropriate public-sector responses. These contribute to make overall national systems of urban land management more efficient and equitable.

The second set of lessons is in relation to municipal finance and administration. In addressing the two vital questions on how to mobilize the resources needed to finance municipal services and how to improve the allocation of municipal resources so as to respond most effectively to consumer demand, it has become clear from UNCHS(Habitat) programme experiences that there is a need to focus on procedural solutions as well as on the political preconditions for sustainable municipal finance reform, in particular the reorganization of service delivery and clear allocation of decision-making powers; improving accountability through reform of inter-governmental fiscal relations; and improving local government credit institutions.

The third set of lessons is on the importance of institution building and strengthening. Studies conducted during Phase I of the Urban Management Programme have confirmed the importance of institutional strengthening, with a focus on broadly-based participatory planning, and have further pointed to three specific areas of need: (a) the need for city-level consultation and demonstration of strategic activities; (b) the need for effective use of local know-how and experience; and (c) the need for additional applicationoriented research.

Furthermore, one of the most significant challenges for urban local authorities in many developing countries is the formulation of policies and strategies capable of reaching the majority of the urban population. The Community Development Programme has demonstrated one realistic method for reaching the urban poor and of harnessing community-based efforts already filling the gap left by local governments within poor residential areas. In Sri Lanka, an approach called the Community Action Planning and Management Approach has been developed for the improvement of urban shelter among the poor. The approach has two distinct features. First, community participation in urban planning and management has been institutionalized through the creation of community development committees at the grass-roots level, as well as through the creation, within the Colombo Municipality, of a specialized unit responsible for slum and shanty improvement. Secondly, a community contracts system is issued for constructing neighbourhood infrastructure, including footpaths, drains, toilets and other community facilities.

Overall, the major lesson learned from the experiences of the various urban management programmes of UNCHS (Habitat) has been to optimize efficiency of output by employing all the potential resources not only at the formal governmental levels but also, more importantly, at the individual and local community levels through enabling measures.