Urbanization Strategies that Empower and Accommodate Growth

Some 900 million people live in the cities and towns of the developed world, compared with 3 billion people that live in cities and towns of developing regions. While urban population growth in most developed countries has been leveling off, the cities and towns of the developing world are growing rapidly. Some 95% of global urban population growth between now and 2050 will take place in the cities and towns of the developing world. Around 2.5 billion people will be added to the population of the cities and towns of developing countries during this period, posing enormous challenges of urban management, urban planning, infrastructure development and finance.

Rural to urban migration is driven primarily by migrants’ expectation that this will improve their economic prospects. By and large this expectation is being met. A recent study indicates that the value added per worker is on average four times higher in the non-agriculture sector than in agriculture.

Cities are where people and businesses come together in close proximity and learn from each other. Cities are centers of science, technology, art, learning, culture, commerce, and innovation. Levels of national economic growth are strongly correlated with levels of urbanization. The Asian Development Bank has estimated that East Asia’s urban population produces 92% of its wealth.

But many cities and towns of the developing world face enormous difficulties. Several estimates by multinational institutions have put he “urban infrastructure deficit” in the Asia and the Pacific region alone, at over $60 billion a year. These deficits contribute to endemic traffic congestion, environmental pollution, poor public health and reduced economic performance by businesses that depend on efficient infrastructure.

Among the challenges facing local governments are revitalizing the planning of land use and infrastructure; dealing with inequality, and the persistence of slums; improving the functioning of land markets and resolving land titling issues; reducing environmental risks; developing “green” growth models; improving investment planning and project preparation, and improving municipal finance. Cities must also overcome deficiencies in governance.

National governments also need to become better partners with cities to help them become more technically and financially independent.

Our Urbanization Expertise

We take a multifaceted view of urbanization, providing services that include:

  • Urban Development Policy and Strategy
  • Local Government Financing Frameworks
  • Urban Infrastructure Financing and Policy
  • Urban Redevelopment
  • Slum Regularization
  • Smart Cities

Typical Urbanization Assignments

Below is a description of the various types of urbanization-related assignments in which the Centennial Group team engages:

  • Improving the procedures for domestic bond issue by a major sub-national urban development fund.
  • Developing a comprehensive national framework for sub-national infrastructure financing.
  • Review of possibility of non-recourse bond market financing for municipal governments.
  • Improving national policies for access to bond finance by local governments.
  • Reviewing the business plan for a proposed District Financing Vehicle that would lend or invest in municipal development projects.
  • Creating a data-base of Infrastructure funds and facilities around the world and development of guidelines and principles for establishment of infrastructure funds and facilities.
  • Recommending a range of guarantee products for infrastructure (including local currency guarantees) for a major European development finance institution including developing manuals for and advising on the operational and risk management structures.
  • Assessment of the use of capital markets to finance water and sanitation.
  • Development of an index to rank global cities based on their contribution to commerce for a major private financial company.
  • Development of an Index to rank global cities based on their environmental vulnerability.

Our Team

Meet the principal(s) that lead our Urbanization assignments:

Anthony Pellegrini

Anthony Pellegrini

Founding Partner; Head of Infrastructure and Urban Development Practice

Johannes Linn

Johannes Linn

Resident Senior Scholar, Emerging Markets Forum

Global Collaboration for Global Development

The Centennial Group sponsors and manages the Emerging Markets Forum, a non-profit international think-tank focused on discussion of policy issues concerning emerging market economies.

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Explore the Results of Our Client Engagements

Learn how we have worked with governments, development organizations, and private sector companies to develop pragmatic plans to bring prosperity to emerging markets and their citizens.

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