Cities and crisis

Cities have been missing from analyses of the crisis and debates about how to generate a sustainable recovery. Illuminating recent trends and emerging risks, Cities and Crisis is about the future, starting where we are.

A fresh assessment is needed of what has changed since 1990 and what has not, of policy assumptions about urban economies, of the lessons of experience. Cities and Crisis looks at the strengths and weaknesses of macro-economic and sectoral policies to guide urban development in both declining and growing cities and regions.

Without higher levels of urban innovation and infrastructure investment, growth will remain below potential.

Stronger urban economies is not our only challenge. We can expect more frequent and more costly environmental, health, and even economic crises. Cities and Crisis frames a discussion of the vulnerability of cities, resilience, and the limits of domestic regulation to cope with mega-disasters and cross-border risks.

The urban transformation which covers what must change in cities, to reduce the infrastructure deficit, improve productivity, and cope with emerging and known risks, must accelerate from the historical trend of 1-2% to 3-4% per year. This is unlikely to happen as long as governments seem unable to set out a vision of the future of cities. The urban agenda, including security and cross-border risks, will have a major impact on nation-states in the 21st century.

The level of uncertainty must be reduced if people are to have confidence to invest for the future. The West has always resolved once-in-a-century crises with a paradigm shift that speaks to our collective fears and hopes. Drawing on dozens of OECD reports on economic, environmental and governance, Cities and Crisis provides a “long-term, big-time” framework to put cities at the centre of policy.

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