Friday, August 12, 2011

[EQ] Urban Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean

Urban Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean

Inter-American Development Bank IADB/BID, 2011

Available online at:


“…………Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has the highest rate of urbanization in the developing world. The proportion of the region’s population living in cities almost doubled between 1950 (41%) and 2010 (80%).

Likewise, economic activity in the region is significantly concentrated in its cities. Between 60% and 70% of the regional gross domestic product (GDP) is currently produced in urban areas. Despite this generation of wealth, two out of every three people in Latin American and Caribbean cities live in poverty. These circumstances, together with the growing importance of cities’ impact on the environment and the high vulnerability of Latin American and Caribbean cities to climate change, natural disasters, and financial limitations, create a need for reflection on the concepts of sustainability and urban development in LAC.

Cities are more than the sum of their sectors; on the contrary, they are complex and interdependent systems on whose dynamics the quality of life of millions of

people and a good part of the regional economy depend. Environmental, economic, and social imbalances in cities can create formidable barriers to sustainable development. Understanding how cities really function is fundamental to resolving these imbalances.

In response, this work presents a comprehensive analysis of urban sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean. The document is composed of six sections, including this introduction. Providing the theoretical and empirical elements of the analysis, the following section briefly reviews the relationship between urbanization and economic development at the international and regional levels. The third section delineates the evolution of the concept of sustainability in the urban sphere in recent years.


The fourth section discusses the principal problems that currently affect the sustainability of Latin American and Caribbean cities, and the fifth section provides the foundations of a methodological proposal for approaching the comprehensive study of the sustainability of Latin American and Caribbean cities, including their components, the interactions of those components, and the horizontal and vertical integration of the analysis process. The work culminates in some final reflections in the last section…..”




I. Introduction

II. Urbanization and Economic Development

III. Sustainability of Urban Development

IV. Urban Challenges in LAC

Disaster Risk and Climate Change

Comprehensive Urban Development

Fiscal Management, Governability, and Transparency 33

V. Toward a Concept of Urban Sustainability Applicable to LAC

The Experience of the IDB

Elements for Evaluating and Planning Sustainable

Urban Development

Focus on Intermediate-Sized Cities

VI. Final Comments




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