The World Bank Urbanscapes Group



Created Oct 04 2017, 5:38 PM by Basak Gunes Basat Unal
  • Reports & Publications


Transforming Karachi into a Livable and Competitive Megacity: A City Diagnostic and Transformation Strategy: With a population of 16 million, Karachi is the largest megacity in Pakistan. Despite being a large city that is home to many, it has seen a substantial decline in quality of life and economic competitiveness in recent decades. Basic service delivery is very poor, with very low indicators for water supply, sanitation, public transport and public spaces. Pollution levels are high, and the city is vulnerable to disasters and climate change. A highly complex political economy, institutional fragmentation, land contestation, crime and security issues and social exclusion exacerbate these issues and make city management challenging. The Karachi City Diagnostic and Transformation Strategy attempts to present detailed data on the economy, livability and key urban services of the city, by identifying and quantifying the requirements to bridge the services gap in the city. It also proposes pathways towards the transformation of Karachi into a more livable, inclusive and economically competitive city by outlining policy actions that the city can undertake. The first part of the report provides an in-depth review of Karachi and is organized into three themes focused on key aspects of city management: i) city growth and prosperity – discussing city economy, competitiveness, business environment and poverty; (ii) city livability – discussing urban and spatial planning, urban governance and municipal service delivery (water and sanitation, public transport and solid waste); and (iii) sustainability and inclusiveness – discussing the city’s long term resilience based on fiscal management, disaster resilience and climate change, and social inclusion. In each section, a diagnostic is provided on the issues, along with possible prioritized actions to resolve them. The second part of the report concludes by identifying four pillars for city transformation. These include: i) building inclusive, coordinated and accountable institutions; (ii) greening Karachi for sustainability and resilience; (iii) leveraging on the city's economic, social and environmental assets; and (iv) creating a smart city through smart policies and technology.


UN Women’s Global Flagship Programme Initiative: Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces: This report shares achievements gleaned from various participating city programmes in Africa, Latin America, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, North America, and Europe. A series of stories illustrate what authorities, grass-roots women, women’s organizations and other community partners can do as part of a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. Many of their initiatives have successfully enhanced safety, including through a focus on the most impoverished urban areas. The report places particular emphasis on chronicling interventions in the four outcome areas of the global flagship programme initiative.


Pedestrians First: Tools for a Walkable City: Walkability is a crucial first step in creating sustainable transportation in an urban environment. Effectively understanding and measuring the complex ecology of walkability has proven challenging for many organizations and governments, given the various levels of policy-making and implementation involved. In the past, Western and Eurocentric standards have permeated measurement attempts and have included data collection practices that are too complicated to have utility in many parts of the world or at a level beyond that of the neighborhood. In order to expand the measurement of walkability to more places and to promote a better understanding of walkability, ITDP has developed Pedestrians First. This tool will facilitate the understanding and the measurement of the features that promote walkability in urban environments around the world at multiple levels. With a better global understanding of walkability, and more consistent and frequent measurement of the walkability of urban environments, decision-makers will be empowered to enact policies that create more walkable urban areas.



Towards more physical activity: Transforming public spaces to promote physical activity — a key contributor to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe: This publication focuses on physical activity and how it can be supported through urban planning. The focus on physical activity is explained by the fact that inactivity today accounts for an increasing proportion of deaths and disability worldwide and is associated with significant health care costs and productivity losses. Action to increase rates of physical activity will be necessary to achieve global targets on the prevention of premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases – the leading cause of death worldwide – and to halt the rise in obesity. With more than 80% of the European population expected to live in urban areas by 2030, cities play a pivotal role in promoting and protecting health and well-being. As cities continue to expand in population, there is a growing need to develop ways of supporting physical activity in dense urban settings.


Youth and Their Needs within Public Space: The report explores the intersectionality between being both young and female, and how these variables relate to needs in terms of public spaces. This study will hence have the aim of answering the following research questions: a) How does the public spaces of Mlango Kubwa cover the needs of youth members of the community? b) What are the differences between young women and young men in terms of what needs are being met with the public spaces available in Mlango Kubwa?, and c) What types of spaces can be introduced to better meet the needs of young women?


Creative Community Spaces (CCSs): CCSs serve to anchor entrepreneurial communities and influence the urban economic and physical landscape. This report showcases a selection of 13 CCSs around the world that contribute to building a community that is sustainable and entrepreneurial and/or is helping advance an industry-specific or sectoral community. This report’s only intent is to showcase inspiring examples and models being implemented in diverse environments across the world. The authors hope this will help catalyze a conversation about the role of creative spaces in urban ecosystem development and provide policy makers as well as city innovation practitioners and private investors a better understanding of these spaces and how to leverage them effectively.


East Asia and Pacific Cities: Expanding Opportunities for the Urban Poor: Urbanization in East Asia and the Pacific has created enormous opportunity for many. Yet the rapid growth of cities can also create challenges as national and local governments try to keep up with the needs of their growing populations. Among these challenges is a lack of affordable housing, resulting in increasing slums, deficits in basic service provision, and widening inequality for urban dwellers. This study aims to better understand urban poverty and inequality in East Asian cities, recognizing that many countries of the region, particularly those of middle-income status, are at a critical juncture in their urbanization and growth process where potential social divisions in cities could harm prospects for future poverty reduction. .


Greening Africa's Cities: Africa is urbanising late but fast. This brings many benefits but, as this report shows: thus far, urbanization in Africa, unique in a number of respects, is having deleterious and largely unchecked impacts on the natural environment; the degradation of natural assets and ecosystems within African cities carries tangible economic, fiscal and social costs; there are important opportunities to change the current environmental trajectory of African cities so that they move towards a more harmonious relationship between their natural and built environments. For this to happen, focused action is necessary.

Transforming the Urban Space through Transit-Oriented Development: Imagine a city that is more competitive, with higher-quality neighborhoods, lower infrastructure costs, and lower C02 emissions per unit of activity. This city has lower combined transportation and housing costs for its residents than other cities at similar levels of economic activity. Its residents can access most jobs and services easily through a combination of low-cost public transport, walking and cycling. Its core economic and population centers are resilient to natural hazards. It is able to finance improvements to public space, connectivity, and social housing by capturing value created through integrated land use and transport planning. Such a vision has never been more relevant for rapidly growing cities than it is today. Transit-oriented development (TOD) can play a major role in achieving such a vision. Based on an observation of methodologies applied in different countries, the World Bank's Community of Practice on Transit Oriented Development has developed a methodology called the 3 Value (3V) Framework, which outlines a typology to facilitate TOD implementation at the metropolitan and urban scale in various contexts. The 3V Framework equips policy and decision makers with quantified indicators to better understand the interplay between the economic vision for the city, its land use and mass transit network, and urban qualities and market vibrancy around its mass transit stations. This book provides examples of approaches taken by cities like London and New York to align their economic, land use, and transport planning to generate jobs and high value. We hope this book will help readers develop a coherent vision, policies, and strategy to leverage the value created through enhanced connectivity and accessibility and make cities even more appealing places to live, work, play and do business.

The Global Street Design Guide: This is a timely resource that will set a global baseline for designing streets and public spaces while redefining the role of streets in a rapidly urbanizing world. The Guide broadens how to measure the success of urban streets to include access, safety and mobility for all users, environmental quality, economic benefit, public health and overall quality of life.


World Cities Report: Urbanization and Development: The analysis of urban development of the past twenty years presented in this maiden edition of the World Cities Report shows, with compelling evidence, that there are new forms of collaboration and cooperation, planning, governance, finance and learning that can sustain positive change. The Report unequivocally demonstrates that the current urbanization model is unsustainable in many respects. It conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of our time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion.



The New Urban Agenda: The agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. It presents a paradigm shift based on the science of cities; it lays out standards and principles for the planning, construction, development, management, and improvement of urban areas along its five main pillars of implementation: national urban policies, urban legislation and regulations, urban planning and design, local economy and municipal finance, and local implementation. It is a resource for every level of government, from national to local; for civil society organizations; the private sector; constituent groups; and for all who call the urban spaces of the world “home” to realize this vision.


Regenerating Urban Land: draws on the experience of eight case studies from around the world. The case studies outline various policy and financial instruments to attract private sector investment in urban regeneration of underutilized and unutilized areas and the requisite infrastructure improvements. In particular, each case study details the project cycle, from the scoping phase and determination of the initial amount of public sector investment, to implementation and subsequent leveraged private-sector funds. This manual analyzes rates of return on the investments and long-term financial sustainability. Regenerating Urban Land guides local governments to systematically identify the sequence of steps and tasks needed to develop a regeneration policy framework, with the participation of the private sector. The manual also formulates specific policies and instruments for expanding private sector participation; structuring effective administrative and legal frameworks; utilizing land readjustment/assembly methods; determining duration of contracts, adequate phasing, and timeline; and balancing the distribution of risk and sustainability measures.



Civic Commons Published online as a free, downloadable booklet, the Civic Commons proposal is the result of a six-month inquiry supported by The Knight and Kresge Foundations. Its design ideas and vision share an accessible, visual understanding of how to leverage the core competencies of cities’ public assets, identify ways to make them more meaningful and useful for the communities they serve, and demonstrate how programming and physical space can be used to better connect them with one another. The proposal offers physical and programmatic changes that can be customized and implemented for seven types of civic assets: libraries, parks, recreation centers, police stations, schools, streets, and transit. It also illustrates examples of the exciting public spaces, uses, and experiences that can be created when this integrated approach to investing in assets is applied in a district in southwest Philadelphia, the first “Reimagining the Civic Commons” pilot city.


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Global Public Space Toolkit: Despite its importance in promoting sustainable urban development, public space has not been given the attention it deserves in literature and, more importantly, in the global policy arena. Yet there is a growing body of principles and sound policies for improving access to good public space in our cities, as well as a growing patrimony of good practices from different urban settings around the world. This toolkit will be a practical reference for local governments to frame and implement principles, policy recommendations and development initiatives on public space and for central governments to aid their efforts with material support and enabling legislation. It will also serve the purpose of demonstrating the value of the involvement of the citizenry and civil society in securing, developing and managing public space in the city.



Placemaking and the Future of Cities: This handbook is a guide for use by municipal leaders in creating future public space projects. It is based on the premise that public space is an important key to building inclusive, healthy, functional, and productive cities and that better public spaces can be created through the place-making approach. It proposes 10 Principles for place-making and illustrates how they have been applied in real life situations through 10 case studies from different cities across the world.



Streets as Tools for Urban Transformation in Slums: Historically, governments have implemented slum upgrading projects and programmes of varying scale and scope.  Despite the wealth of experience and knowledge, the growth of slums and the multiplication of informal settlements are only getting worse, particularly in parts of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Streets as Tools for Urban Transformation in Slums: A Street-Led Approach to Citywide Slum Upgrading advocates for a shift from piecemeal project based to programme scale upgrading.  This paper promotes an approach to slum upgrading that does not consider slums as islands of poverty and informality but as deprived neighbourhoods that are an integral part of the overall city system which are spatially segregated and disconnected due to an absence of streets and open spaces. Taking advantage of streets as the natural conduits that connect slums with the city, UN-Habitat suggests a fundamental shift towards the opening of streets as the driving force for citywide slum upgrading.


Green Solutions for Livable Cities: This is the result of a 2-year innovative, exploratory, and reflective study of cities as unique urban spaces that support life, work, and play. It responds to major issues that a ect the quality of life of urban residents. This publication offers practical ways on how urban managers, urban practitioners, businesspeople, and citizens can engage to make our cities more livable by building on their distinctive physical, social, cultural, and economic characteristics. The idea of this publication emerged from the work undertaken since 2012 through ADB’s regional technical assistance (TA) Green Cities: A Sustainable Urban Future in Southeast Asia (Green Cities Initiative). It adopted a methodology for “doing things differently” and identified good practices that have demonstrated effectiveness in bringing about transformations toward livability in cities



UN-Habitat's Charter of Public Space: A strong debate and a specific roadmap led to draft the Charter of Public Space (2013) presented during the Second Biennial of Public Space in Rome: a dedicated workshop took place, and the Charter was adopted. Specifically, the drafting process was developed by the editorial group (1) in several steps, which included: a framework for the first draft; national and international literature reviews (references, case studies, analysis of other documents, etc.); a 1.0 draft version; sharing of this version with the Second Biennial’s coordinators (Biennial Work Groups, Scientific Committee, competitions, calls, and workshops coordinators), including UN-Habitat; review of the draft version on the basis of the feedback and comments from the 2013 Biennial’s collaborators; finally the publication on the Biennial web site to get more feedback to be added to the version presented during the workshop at the final event of the 2013 Biennial of Public Space. Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 05.36.33.png

Streets as Public Spaces and Drivers of Urban Prosperity: The publication was launched by the UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, on 12 November 2013 at the UN-Habitat Headquarters, Nairobi. A key finding of this report is “the expansion of cities has been accompanied by changes in land use, both in terms of form as well as structure. Streets, as public spaces, have lost their importance in terms of their share of land, as well as their prominent role in shaping the culture and history of cities.” Another key finding of this report is “prosperous cities are those that recognise the relevance of public spaces (with proper layouts) and those which have allocated sufficient land to street development, including sufficient crossings along an appropriate lengthy network. Those cities that have failed to integrate the multi-functionality of streets tend to have lesser infrastructure development, lower productivity and a poorer quality of life”