The Dynamics of Urbanization, Housing, and Land Provision in the Pacific Island Countries

Publication | March 2019

Asia has undergone tremendous urbanization and infrastructure growth in the past decade, with almost half of the population now residing in urban areas.

More than half of the world’s megacities are in Asia and the Pacific, and they constitute hubs of knowledge, culture, commerce, and industry. Parallel to the rapid growth of Asian economies, intense infrastructure investments are necessary to cater to the needs of the growing urban populations. Building quality and resilient infrastructure in developing Asia will require financial investments of approximately $1.7 trillion annually until 2030 to withstand the shocks of climate change (ADB 2017). Especially in the Pacific island countries (PICs) where regional interconnectivity and integration remains a challenge with rapid urbanization, providing sustainable infrastructure is key to ensuring the livelihood, economy, and climate adaptation of the region and necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Key points
  • Given the rapid urbanization in the Pacific island countries, sustainable infrastructure investments and provision are crucial to curb urban poverty and informal settlements.
  • Housing provision for informal dwellers is associated primarily with landownership, subdivisions, governance, and legal institutional frameworks. Lack of tenure due to customary landownership remains standard across the Pacific, yet differing by country. Land reform is required to mitigate the challenges.
  • Affordable housing in urban areas is also associated with highcost building materials due to excessive imports and scarce local supply coupled with high wages. Therefore, skills training of land dwellers by introducing repair and renovation programs will aid in improving living conditions.
  • Regional collaboration on urban planning and housing policies can increase awareness of the problems of urbanization as well as opportunities for economic and social development to improve reforms in sustainable housing and green infrastructure.
Policy Brief No: 2019-1

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Poverty
  • Social development and protection
  • 2411-6734