Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia

The number of people in South Asia’s cities rose by 130 million between 2000 and 2011—more than the entire population of Japan. This was linked with an improvement in productivity and a reduction in the incidence of extreme poverty. But the region’s cities have struggled to cope with the pressure of population growth on land, housing, infrastructure, basic services, and the environment. As a result, urbanization in South Asia remains underleveraged in its ability to deliver widespread improvements in both prosperity and livability. The World Bank’s recently launched Flagship report Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia is about the state of South Asia’s urbanization and the market and policy failures that have taken the region’s urban areas to where they are today—and the hard policy actions needed if the region’s cities are to leverage urbanization better. It provides original empirical and diagnostic analysis of urbanization and related economic trends in the region. It also discusses in detail the key policy areas—the most fundamental being urban governance and finance—where actions must be taken to make cities more prosperous and livable.