Asian Urbanization Futures: Nine Practitioner Recommendations

by Steven Gale and Teresa Leonardo and Mariko Sato and Joseph D’Cruz


Much has been written about rapid urbanization in Asia by scholars, academics, and
theorists, alongside volumes about how Asian cities are handling this unprecedented
population surge. The majority of Asia’s population, close to 2 billion, are now urban
dwellers. But what is on the mind of local urban planners, mayors, and provincial leaders
who must manage this challenge daily? To learn more about their realities, the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID) partnered with UN-Habitat, UNDP and UNGlobal
Pulse to hold a two-day practitioner’s workshop in Bangkok in late 2014. Local
Asian experts voiced concerns about challenges in institutional capacity, governance,
accountability, and local decision-making, but at the same time saw that tools like futures
analysis, visualization, private-sector financing schemes, mobile devices, and data analytics
hold great promise to build more resilient and sustainable cities. Effective technological
solutions, quickly adopted and applied, can help Asian cities thrive.

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