Ellen Thalman – Slums And Gated Communities
www.dandc.eu. April 2014. The flood of rural workers to cities is an unstoppable global phenomenon. Local government institutions are struggling to cope with fast urban growth. Local-level authorities, especially mayors, tend to lack the capacity and funding to organise large-scale infrastructure projects.
Developing countries everywhere are facing a “rapid and messy urbanisation,” says Gil-Hong Kim of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). City governments are grappling with often conflicting goals of eliminating poverty, creating sustainable growth, fighting corruption and caring for the environment.
The ADB expert says that building up a middle class is vital to the economic health of urban areas. But balancing the dynamic economic growth with the need to deal with poverty and protecting the environment is a huge challenge. Millions of people are moving towards urban areas every year. Kim admits that, in Asian agglomerations, more than 80 % of water and soluble waste remain untreated.
It is generally acknowledged that there is a large financing gap for infrastructure projects. Asian countries’ high savings rates have not translated into adequate investment. Kim sees a need to mobilise additional funds and to do more to make public authorities and private-sector companies cooperate on building infrastructure.