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ADB’s Core Areas of Operation in Urban Development

Five core areas are being mainstreamed in ADB's lending and non-lending programs to enhance the relevance and effectiveness of ADB's assistance to developing member countries.

City Cluster Economic Development (CCED)

When ADB started in the 1960s, development contexts in Asia were hugely different from what we are seeing today. Urbanization patterns then were simply restricted to conventional city growth. Today, emerging patterns of urbanization such as formation of network of cities, special economic zones, and cross-border corridors are changing the way cities are viewed, and at the same time challenging our former assumptions.

City cluster economic development or CCED is a region-based urban development approach that enhances the ability of cities to achieve sustainable economic growth by fostering the development of industry clusters. CCED takes advantage of economies of scale in an urban agglomeration, therefore increasing the intensity of economic activity, and generating more jobs and income opportunities.

Urban transport

Despite massive investments in the transport sector, expanding Asian cities are confronted with a myriad of transport-related problems. These include increasing air pollution, road accidents, traffic congestion - all of which contribute to low levels of urban quality of life.

Sustainable urban transport offers the prospect of more effective management of the region’s cities over the coming years. The overall goal is to incorporate a realistic approach to ensure inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth.

Waste management

As cities and urban areas expand, economic activities and consumption patterns drive up waste quantities. At the same time, lack of available open land adversely affects the disposal of wastes. The challenge is to rationalize available resources while expanding services to a growing urban population.

Proper planning and management of wastes either by collecting, transporting, processing, and recycling or disposing hazardous or non-hazardous waste materials is critical to achieve sustainable environs for Asian cities. Waste management should therefore be viewed as a complementary approach to achieving livable and sustainable cities.

Municipal finance

The rapid urbanization of populations in the developing world is leading to larger levels of decentralization of urban public services, as local governments assume increasing responsibility for providing and financing local public services. However, there is significant lack of capacity at the local municipal/urban local body level to assume the additional responsibilities for financing and fiscal management of such services. Municipal finance deals with the sourcing of funds at the local level, and the management, allocation and utilization of such finances in a prudent manner. This broadly includes various financing instruments and modalities for fund-raising (such as municipal bonds, user-based tariffs and taxation) and their deployment in a commercially viable manner to fund local-level urban infrastructure projects.

Urban renewal and slum rehabilitation

ADB often adopts an urban regeneration perspective to ongoing urban development. Slum rehabilitation needs to be seen as an integral part of the urban development agenda of ADB. Slum rehabilitation can be either insitu upgrading or redevelopment. This perspective suggests that (i) slum rehabilitation is an essential requirement for meaningful urban renewal in Asia and the Pacific, and that (ii) slum rehabilitation needs to be pursued as part of a multi-pronged strategic approach, combining water management (drinking water, sanitation, and drainage/flood control); solid waste management; urban transport; and urban renewal.

Urban Community of Practice (CoP)

The Urban Community of Practice (CoP) was established in 2007 to facilitate knowledge flow, not only among ADB urban specialists, but also to those interested to learn and share their expertise on urban-related issues. The Urban CoP (i) provides advice on general strategic operational direction of ADB's assistance in urban areas for the Management and Regional Departments; and (ii) promotes AD B-wide good practices through technical and flagship studies. The CoP is also working on bolstering urban sector knowledge, improving the quality of sector analysis and supporting urban networking and outreach.

The CoP operates under the aforementioned five core areas of activity. These priority activities are organized to investigate issues of particular operational importance to the urban sector, and tackle specific tasks and activities to achieve Urban CoP objectives.