National Urban Policies
Urbanization in most developing countries is bringing about enormous changes in the spatial distribution of people, resource, as well as the use and consumption of land. Although such a process is strongly linked to social and economic development, many countries lack the supporting policies and frameworks that can leverage the process for increased development gains and guide it towards sustainable patterns. While urbanization creates huge wealth and opportunities, enables better use of assets and creates new ones, in many countries, particularly in the developing world, these aspects are not harnessed for development. In fact, in the developing world, urbanization challenges often seem to outpace the development gains.
In order to harness urbanization, mitigate its negative externalities and promote an “urban paradigm shift”, there is need for a coordinated approach and clear policy directions. This is lacking in many countries, where several government departments are in charge of dealing with different aspects of the urbanization challenge. Moreover, urbanization is not considered a national development opportunity. In general, the overall understanding of cities in national development is very limited, and so is the appreciation of the structural transformations represented by the dynamics of growth in urban centres.