IGC Cities Conference

Location: London School of Economics and Political Science

Follow tweets from the conference on the hashtag #BuildingCities

Today, for the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population live in towns and cities. While the growth in urbanisation so far has mainly been led by developed countries, developing countries across the globe are starting to urbanise at an increasingly impressive rate. This trend is expected to continue, and has the potential to increase productivity, improve governance and ultimately drive national economic growth to lift people out of poverty. However, for cities in Africa and South Asia to reach its full potential, the downsides of density must be handled. Establishing a functioning infrastructure along with investment into effective service provision, transportation networks, adequate water and sanitation, and affordable housing will all be important goals in generating economic growth and increasing the quality of life for its inhabitants.

But what are the main policy challenges for developing countries in doing so, and how can research help tackle these? In 5-10 years, what would governments and local city councils need to deal with in order for their cities to grow and prosper? And what role could academic findings play in informing the final decisions?

About the conference

Following the success of the Cities Conference in May 2015, the IGC Cities Research Group hosted its second conference to strengthen the community of scholars and policy makers working on cities and urbanisation in developing countries. Whereas the conference in May served to set the agenda for future research and established the initial network of policy makers and researchers, this 2nd conference furthered the agenda and pushed the newly formed community to set out to answer the most pressing policy questions using sound academic approaches.

Links to available presentations can be found below.

Day 1 – Research focused (Thursday 28th January)

Time Sessions Presenter
EMERGING IDEAS FOR GROWTH – PART 1: HOUSING AND SLUMS
09.00-10.00 Access to credit and large household investments in Urban Africa: Evidence from a housing lottery” Simon Franklin (LSE)
“Little boxes all the same: Evaluating low-cost housing in South African metro areas” Nathalie Picarelli (LSE)
EMERGING IDEAS FOR GROWTH – PART 2: DEALING WITH DENSITY
10.00-11.00 “Commuting technologies, city structure and urban inequality: Evidence from Bogotá’s TransMilenio” Nick Tsivanidis (Chicago Booth)
“The Geography of Talent in Cities” Santiago Truffa (UC Berkeley Haas School of Business)
LESSONS FROM THE PAST
11.15-12.45 “Watersheds in infant mortality: The Role of effective water and sewerage infrastructure, 1880 to 1915” Marcella Alsan (Stanford University)
“Estimating neighborhood effects: Evidence from war-time destruction in London” Stephen Redding (Princeton University)
“Cities in History – Evidence, Quasi-Experiments, Lessons” Jeremiah Dittmar (LSE)
STRUCTURING CITIES
“Optimal city structure” Costas Arkolakis (Yale University)
“The heterogeneous effects of transportation investments: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa 1960-2010” Adam Storeygard (TUFTS University)
Discussion of policies for better structuring cities Nathaniel Baum-Snow (Brown University)
BUILDING CITIES
“Building the cities: Sunk capital and sequencing” Vernon Henderson (LSE)
“Rapid urbanisation and rural structural transformation” Paul Novosad (Darthmouth College)
“Discussion on Building Cities” Naomi Hausman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Q&A: CHALLENGES IN TRANSFORMING AFRICAN CITIES
Chair: Tony Venables (University of Oxford)
“The Kampala Case” Jennifer Musisi (Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda)
Patricia De Lille (Mayor, Cape Town)

 Day 2 – Policy focused (Friday 29th January)

Time Sessions Presenter
09.00-09.30 POLICY CHALLENGE 1: HOUSING AND LAND USE
Chair: Edward Glaeser (Harvard University)
Paul Collier (University of Oxford)
Nasir Javed (Government of Punjab)
Craig Kesson (Director, Office of the Mayor of Cape Town)
Alex Mwansa (Lusaka City Council)
11.30-13.00 POLICY CHALLENGE 2: TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Chair: Nathaniel Baum-Snow (Brown University)
Patricia De Lille (Mayor, Cape Town)
Douglas Gollin (University of Oxford)
Sajeesh Kumar (Urban Development Ministry, India)
Jennifer Musisi (Kampala Capital City Authority)
13.30-15.00 POLICY CHALLENGE 3: WATER AND SANITATION
Chair: Oriana Bandiera (LSE)
Marcella Alsan (Stanford University)
Chola Chabala (Ministry of Planning, Zambia)
Judith Tukahirwa Tumusiime (Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda)
15.30-17.00 POLICY CHALLENGE 4: FINANCING CITY PROVISION
Chair: Adnan Khan (IGC)
Ali Cheema (Lahore University of Management Science)
Aftab Akbar Durrani (Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Patrick Musoke (Kampala Capital City Authority)
David Savage (National Treasury, South Africa)

 

For more information please contact mail@theigc.org.

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