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Special to the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador, 17-20 October 2016

i-Sheet browse on paper, read online



Cities at the forefront of progress Our world is urbanising at an historically fast pace. Over a thousand years ago Bagdad became the first city on earth to exceed a million inhabitants. New York was the first city to reach 10 million in 1925 and Tokyo 20 million in 1965. Today there are several metropolitan areas with over 10 million people. By 2050, about 56% of Africans will live in cities. By 2100, 85% of the world’s population could be urban. This presents both major policy challenges and potential for sustainable development, productivity and inclusiveness for all. This OECD Observer i-Sheet casts a spotlight on the key issues. Browse the headlines on paper, and read the full articles online using the short URLs or scan the QR code.

Read more at http://oe.cd/1yG


Tokyo from train in motion, not digitally altered

A 21st century vision for urbanisation

Building better cities

Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat

Rudiger Ahrend, Head of the Urban Programme, OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate

If urbanisation is one of the most important global trends of the 21st century, with some 70% of the world’s population forecasted to live in cities by 2050, then urbanisation in Africa–and the ways in which that growth occurs–marks one of the most significant opportunities for achieving global sustainable development.

In 1950 New York and Tokyo were the only urban agglomerations on the planet with populations in excess of 10 million. By 2030, the number of megacities is projected to increase to 41, with seven of the world’s top ten megacities in Asia. Cities of around 2-5 million are also becoming far more commonplace. Our metropolitan century presents challenges and opportunities for policy makers.

Full article http://oe.cd/1wH

Full article http://oe.cd/1yt

Integrating the local and global urban agendas

Why metropolitan governance matters

David Simon, Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

A city’s metropolitan governance structure has a critical influence on the quality of life and economic outcomes of its inhabitants. Administrative fragmentation complicates policy coordination, whereas good governance in well-designed metropolitan authorities brings benefits for transport, the environment and more.

Rudiger Ahrend, Alexander Lembcke, Abel Schumann, OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate

In October, world leaders will gather in Quito for the Habitat III summit to launch the New Urban Agenda. This is on top of the start this year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Full article http://oe.cd/1wL

Full article http://oe.cd/1yw

The use of land: Why planners cannot go it alone

Greening Bangkok Clara Young, OECD Observer

Tamara Krawchenko and Abel Schumann, OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate

©Jeff Fisher

Full article http://oe.cd/1yu

©Damir Sagolj/Reuters

For Bangkok, and its surrounding five provinces, green cities are a matter of survival. This is a flood-prone area, which climate change is rendering more vulnerable. No surprise therefore that the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) should have no shortage of climate change action plans and green growth strategies.

How land is used determines more in our daily lives than we may realise. Whether getting to work, school or a hospital, or taking a bus or a train, these choices are often made easier or more difficult by land-use planning. It’s high time for policy makers of all stripes to take land use far more seriously.

Full article http://oe.cd/1yv


Urban and rural income per capita

China’s urban-rural divide

1978-2012 nominal income, CNY 30 000 Urban

Income inequality between China’s rural and urban areas has surged in recent years. The per capita income of urban households in 2012 was about 3.1 times that of the rural households, whereas in 1978 it was about 2.5 times higher, the OECD’s Urban Policy Review of China shows. Why?


25 000 20 000 15 000 10 000 5 000


Source: OECD Urban Policy Reviews: China

20 12




20 10



20 0


20 02






Note: Per capita disposable income for urban households as defined by NBS; per capita net income for rural households as defined by NBS.













82 19

80 19




Full article http://oe.cd/1yx

©Gavin Hellier/ALAMY




©Robert Harding/Alamy

©Peter Treanor/Alamy Stock Photo


Where cities can take Africa

Urban pollution: Clearing the air

Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Laurent Bossard, Director of the OECD Sahel and West Africa Club, and Mario Pezzini, Director, the OECD Development Centre, and Acting Director, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate

Clara Young

Full article http://oe.cd/1wX

Full article http://oe.cd/1xe

African cities can be actors of structural transformation

Local logic: How cities can make a difference

Arthur Minsat, Economist, OECD Development Centre

Carolina Tohá, Mayor of Santiago, Chile

African nations are exploring how best to harness the potential of cities as agents of change to achieve progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

On all continents, the local level of power has become a driver of social innovation and public policy.

©Ivan Alvarado/REUTERS

Cities like Tangier in the north of Morocco, which has transformed in 15 years into a vibrant metropolitan area of 1.5 million inhabitants, show how Africa’s cities and towns can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.

It’s hard to breathe in Onitsha, a major river port in Nigeria. The air is dark with car fumes. Old freighters on the River Niger expel smoke. Burning rubbish dumps outside the city’s many sprawling markets thicken the air even further.

Full article http://oe.cd/1wJ Full article http://oe.cd/1yO

Governing megacities The ancient Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro once wrote, “Divine Nature gave the fields, human art built the cities.” The adage is still very relevant at the turn of the 21st century. Nowadays, nearly two-thirds of the population of the OECD area lives in cities.

What city mayors are doing to fight climate change

Full article http://oe.cd/1yI

Full article http://oe.cd/1cG

Innovation and urban mobility in Brazil

Urban growth’s natural increase

OECD Observer Roundtable with mayors of Libreville, Madrid, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Stockholm

Cesar Cunha Campos, Director, FGV Projetos

Rory Clarke

Integrated planning, supported by clear public policies, new technologies and ways to safeguard the environment, is the path towards sustainable mobility in cities in Brazil.

Unlike in many other regions of the world, people quitting the countryside to settle in cities will not be the main driver of Africa’s urban growth. City and regional policies must go hand in hand as a result.

Full article http://oe.cd/1yN

Full article http://oe.cd/1xf

BOOKSHOP Cities at the forefront of fighting climate change

Spotlight, November 2015 www.oecdobserver.org >Sections >Spotlights

Fighting climate change: What city mayors are doing Paris leads the way in electro-mobility Clichy-Batignolles: Where urban planning meets the climate

Ville Lumière


Paris lights the way on climate

To order these titles and more go to:

Energy boost: How to carry out a perfect retrofit A natural capital for a circular economy Urban cultivation: Protecting nature in the city Tour de force: Eiffel Tower’s new clean view

www.oecd.org/bookshop www.OECD-iLibrary.org See also www.oecd.org/dev/emea/ and www.oecd.org/swac/. m.oecdobserver.org


Relive the must-go global meeting of the year. www.oecd.org/forum - #OECDwk

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OECD Observer i-Sheet: Cities at the forefront of progress  

Special to the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador, 17-20 October 2016

OECD Observer i-Sheet: Cities at the forefront of progress  

Special to the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador, 17-20 October 2016