Cities that Work is bringing together the insights of researchers, policymakers and practitioners across four policy themes:
- Urban land use
- Housing and infrastructure
- Firms and employment in cities
- Municipal finance and urban governance
Use the navigation menu on the left to access current content.
We will soon be publishing more policy-focused synthesis content. In the meantime, we have put together a short list of what we’re currently reading below.
Urban land use:
- Rwanda: Reforming Land Administration to Enhance the Investment Environment – Didier Sagashya (heavily involved in Rwanda’s Land Tenure Regularisation, and now Executive Secretary of Kigali) writes about why and how Rwanda embarked on its Land Tenure Regularisation Programme. This was achieved at very low cost through community-led mapping based on aerial and satellite photographs.
- Land Sharing as an alternative to eviction – Shlomo Angel discusses an innovative solution from Thailand to land disputes between slum dwellers and landowners: land sharing.
Housing and infrastructure:
- Housing and urbanisation in Africa: Unleashing a formal market process – Paul Collier and Tony Venables discuss the need for coordinated public policy to address interrelated constraints to affordable urban housing.
- Public-Private Partnerships: When and How – Engel, Fischer and Gletovic explore the relative benefits and costs of PPPs – arguing they are far from the silver bullet they are often portrayed as.
- Providing Water to Poor People in African Cities Effectively: Lessons from Utility Reforms – World Bank report focussing on how five African cities (Dakar, Kampala, Ouagadougou, Nyeri and Durban) have implemented important reforms to increase access to water for low-income residents. The focus is on the importance of effective and independent leadership of the utility company, and on the importance of pricing mechanisms that enable systems to be well-funded whilst also cross-subsidising the poor.
Firms and employment in cities:
- Urbanisation without industrialisation – Douglas Gollin, Rémi Jedwab and Dietrich Vollrath explore how the historical link between urbanisation and industrialisation in Western and East Asian economies no longer applies in many low-income countries. Instead these countries have seen the rise of ‘consumption cities’ rather than ‘production cities’ based on natural resource rents.
- African urbanisation: An analytic policy guide – Paul Collier on cities as engines of growth, and the necessary ingredients for different types of scale and specialisation.
Municipal finance and urban governance:
- The political economy of property tax reform – Enid Slack and Richard Bird examine the political and economic challenges of property tax reform, and outline promising approaches for success – including linking these taxes to public services – with case studies from five OECD countries.
- Governing Lagos: Unlocking the Politics of Reform – Diana De Gramont looks at civil service and municipal revenue reform that has unleashed a positive cycle of revenue generation and effective public service delivery in Lagos city.
- Financing fast-growing cities – In this IGC growth brief, Astrid Haas and Paul Collier outline how city authorities can expand local revenue sources to finance functioning cities.