The six dimensions of urban prosperity

The six dimensions of urban prosperity

Prosperity implies success, wealth, thriving conditions, well-being as well as confidence in the future and opportunities for all. Further, prosperous cities offer a profusion of public goods, allowing for equitable access to ‘commons’ and the development of sustainable policies. Based on this, UN-Habitat conceptualized urban prosperity as follows:

  • Urban Governance and Legislation – Cities are best able to combine sustainability and shared prosperity through effective urban governance and transformational leadership, deploying appropriate and effective policies, laws and regulations, and creating adequate institutional frameworks with strong local institutions and sound institutional arrangements.
  • Urban Planning and Design – There is growing global consensus that urban planning strategies and policies contribute to economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability and resilience. The economic benefits of planning are multiple, and derive from land value increases and improved productivity.
  • Urban Economy and Municipal Finance – Municipal finance can have an impact on the deepening of financial markets, the quality of the natural environment through its impact on municipal services such as water supply, sewage treatment, solid waste management, and public transportation, poverty reduction through its impact on the ability of municipal governments to undertake effective pro-poor programs of social, economic, health, education, and community development.
  • Infrastructure Development – A prosperous city deploys the infrastructure, physical assets and amenities – adequate water, sanitation, power supply, road network, information and communications technology, etc. – required to sustain both the population and the economy, and provide better quality of life.
  • Social Cohesion and Equity – A city is only prosperous to the extent that poverty and inequalities are minimal. No city can claim to be prosperous when large segments of the population live in abject poverty and deprivation. This involves reducing the incidence of slums and new forms of poverty and marginalization.
  • Urban ecology and environment – The growth of cities and their economic development do not destroy or degrade the environment; instead, the city’s natural assets are preserved for the sake of sustainable urbanization