Spatially Awhere: Bridging the Gap Between Leading and Lagging Regions

Built Environment, News, Universal Design, June 6 2018

international flags up on poles, waving in the wind

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash

INTERNATIONAL: As the world urbanizes rapidly, international experience has shown that economic activities concentrate in a relatively small number of places – it is estimated that only 1.5% of the world’s land is home to about half of global production.

Such economic concentration is a built-in feature of human settlement development and a key driver of growth. However, while some countries have succeeded in spreading economic benefits to most of their citizens, many other countries have not.

Especially outside the economic centers that concentrate production, there are “lagging areas” with persistent disparities in living standards and a lack of access to basic services and economic opportunities.

Today, over two billion people live in such lagging areas. Over one billion people live in underserved slums with many disparities from the rest of the city in terms of access to infrastructure and services, tenure security, and vulnerability to disaster risk. A further one billion people live in underdeveloped areas with few job opportunities and public services.

How can countries address the division between the leading and lagging regions?

As discussed at the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the World Bank Group is taking an integrated territorial approach through a “spatially awhere” lens to tackle the land, social, and economic challenges altogether.

The idea of territorial development is to ensure that within a geographical area – at provincial, regional, metropolitan level, or even at the neighborhood level – urban planners take an integrated planning approach to prioritize and sequence spatially coordinated, multi-sector investments in the territory. A territory here means not just space, but also economy, society, and the built and natural environment related to the space.

Essentially, the territorial development approach spans “3I’s and 1P” – Institutions, Infrastructure, Interventions (the three pillars of the World Development Report of 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography), and People.

Click here for the full article and to watch the video ‘Together Toward Cities 2030: Cities for All’

Source: World Bank

Re-posted with permission

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