This guide explores the poverty and environmental challenges facing cities of the global South, and current thinking on how urban planning and management of the built and natural environment can be harnessed to address these challenges.
The Topic Guide is written for DFID staff, but is relevant to all development professionals. It is suitable for both non-experts and experts on urban planning. The aim of the guide is to provide information to enable development professionals to take practical steps in their day-to-day work, and highlight sources of further information. The central message of this Topic Guide is that urban planning has the potential to bridge urban divides, but only if interventions are locally-appropriate and pro-poor in intent, and if local governance is equitable and transparent. The challenges addressed in this Topic Guide are that problems are most acute where capacity to manage urban change is least effective, and that planning interventions tend to favour elites and disadvantage the poor. These challenges mean reconceptualising interventions to address social need, build local government capacity, ensure open and participatory processes, protect sensitive environments and focus resources on areas of most need.