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Urban Development

Competitive Cities: A Game Changer for Malaysia

Judy Baker's picture
Photo: mozakim/bigstock

As an upper-middle income country with a majority of its population living in cities, Malaysia is situated among the countries that prove urbanization is key to achieving high-income status. Asking “How can we benefit further from urbanization?” Malaysian policymakers have identified competitive cities as a game changer in the 11th Malaysia Plan. To this end, the World Bank has worked with the government to better understand issues of urbanization and formulate strategies for strengthening the role of cities through the report, “Achieving a System of Competitive Cities in Malaysia.”

While Malaysia’s cities feature strong growth, low poverty rates, and wide coverage of basic services and amenities, challenges still remain. 

Its larger cities are characterized by urban sprawl, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, where population density is low for an Asian metropolis. This inefficient urban form results in high transport costs and negative environmental impacts. This is matched by low economic density, indicating Malaysia’s cities can do better in maximizing the economic benefits from urban agglomeration.  

A second challenge hampering Malaysia’s cities is the highly centralized approach to urban management and service delivery, a system that impedes the local level, and obstructs service delivery and effective implementation of urban and spatial plans.

Third is a growing recognition of the importance of promoting social inclusion to ensure that the benefits of urbanization are widely shared.

Các dự án đầu tư đột phá giúp kinh tế Việt Nam phát triển

Kristalina Georgieva's picture

Available in english

Tháng trước tôi có dịp sang công tác tại Việt Nam. Những tiến triển mạnh mẽ tại đây so với 17 năm trước đã gây cho tôi một ấn tượng mạnh.

Năm 2000, kênh Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghè chảy qua khu trung tâm Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh còn ô nhiễm và gây ảnh hưởng xấu lên sức khỏe người dân sống và làm việc trong khu vực. Nhưng hôm nay, dòng kênh đã được cải tạo với dòng nước trong và sạch, mang thêm màu xanh và sức khỏe cho 1,2 triệu người sống tại khu vực này – một khu đô thị đang phát triển nhanh chóng.


Barjor Mehta's picture
Also available in: English



过去二十年间,中国浙江省丽水市遭受洪水灾害、山体滑坡以及高温酷热之苦。如今, 200多万丽水人有很多自豪之处。丽水被认定为中国最著名的风景如画的生态之城、养生天堂和长寿之乡,这得益于丽水市和浙江省政府官员高度重视,首先弄清气候变化带来的问题的根源,随后全面规划、设计和实施了技术上完善的项目。这些项目与穿城而过的河流和谐相依,与周边丘陵地带贯穿全市的天然暴雨排水系统浑然一体。

In Lishui, China’s “home of longevity”: working towards resilience and adaptation to climate change

Barjor Mehta's picture
Also available in: 中文
Photo:Xiao Wu

Over the past three decades, China’s unprecedented pace of urbanization has allowed more than 260 million migrants to move from agriculture to more productive activities. This has helped 500 million people escape poverty and for China to grow at an average 10 percent a year for three consecutive decades. At the same time, between 2000 and 2014, weather-related disasters caused more than RMB 4.645 trillion ($749 billion) in damages.

There is strong evidence that climate change is altering the profile of hazards. The observed frequency and severity of extremely heavy rain storms since the 1950s in China have significantly increased and future climate scenarios suggest that interannual variability in rainfall may increase further, aggravating the risk of flooding and as well as severe lack of water.

Over the past two decades, the city of Lishui in Zhejiang Province of China suffered from devastating floods, landslides, as well as heat waves. Today, the over 2 million people of Lishui have a lot to be proud of. Their city is recognized as China’s “top ecological, picturesque paradise for healthy life and home of longevity”. This is the result of close attention from city and provincial officials in understanding the root causes of the problems caused by the changing climate. This has been followed by inclusive planning, design and implementation of technically sound projects that are in harmony with the rivers flowing through the city in concert with the surrounding hilly terrain’s natural and city-wide storm water drainage systems.

Улаанбаатар хотын өрнөл—1990-ээд он болон одоо үеийн гэрэл зургууд

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: English
1990-ээд онд Монголд өнгөрүүлсэн цаг мөчөөс миний харамсаж явдаг нэг зүйл бол илүү олон гэрэл зураг дараагүй явдал юм. Гэхдээ би ганцаараа тийм биш байлаа. Хүмүүс тухайн үед тэр бүр зургийн аппарат авч явдаггүй байсны дээр 35 мм-ийн Никон аппараатаа гаргаж ирэх бүрт маш олон хүн намайг ширтэж байгааг би анзаардаг байлаа. Зургийн халсийг Бээжин хотоос авч, зургаа ч мөн тэндээ боловсруулах шаардлагатай байснаас тийм ч олон зураг авч чадаагүй ч гэсэн аз болж хэдэн зураг авч үлджээ.

1997 оны хавар би Монголын албан бус салбарын тухай судалгаа хийсэн нь Монголын хувьд энэ чиглэлээр хийгдсэн анхны судалгаа байсан ба мэдээлэл маш хомс байлаа. Албан бус салбар ямар хурдацтай өссөн, ямар хэмжээтэй байсан, энэ салбарт ажиллаж байгаа хүмүүс өөрсдийгөө хэрхэн харж зохион байгуулдаг, албан бус салбар дахь бизнес эрхлэлт, зах зээл хэрхэн өөрийгөө зохицуулж байсан зэрэг нь миний сонирхлыг ихэд татаж байв. 

Статистик мэдээллийг судлахын зэрэгцээ, таксиний жолооч, гутал тослогч жаалуудтай ярилцлага хийн мэдээлэл цуглуулдаг байсан энэ үе миний ажлын хувьд тэрнээс өмнө болон хойно хэзээ ч байгаагүй хамгийн сонирхолтой үе байсан. Төрийн албан хаагчдаас жижиглэнгийн худалдаа эрхлэх ТҮЦ-ний зөвшөөрлийг өгөх эсэхээ хэрхэн шийддэг байсан, албан бус (хувь хүмүүс өөрсдөө ажиллуулдаг, бие даасан) автобуснуудтай хэрхэн хамтран ажилладаг талаар ярилцлага авч байв. Ийнхүү тал бүрээс цуглуулсан түүхүүдийн хамт толилуулах тоо баримтыг цуглуулахаар Үндэсний статистикийн газар болон Улаанбаатар хотын статистикийн газартай хамтран асуулга хийдэг байлаа.

Dynamic Ulaanbaatar—photographs from 1990s and the present

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: Mongolian
One regret from my time in Mongolia in the 1990s is that I did not take more pictures. I wasn’t alone in this respect—people generally didn’t carry cameras, and whenever I pulled out my 35mm Nikon I got a lot of stares.  I had to buy and develop film in Beijing and, well, I just didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have.  Happily, I did take some.

In the spring of 1997 I conducted the research for a study of Mongolia’s informal sector. It was the first such study in the country and there was a blank slate in terms of information.  I was fascinated by how rapidly it had grown, by questions about the size of the sector, by how people working in the informal sector see and organized themselves, by informal entrepreneurship and the spontaneity of markets.

I had as much fun as I have had in my career before or since, poring through statistics, interviewing taxi drivers and shoe shine boys. I interviewed officials on how they decide to provide permission for kiosks to set up shop and how they collaborate with informal (i.e., private, independent) buses. I worked with the NSO and the Ulaanbaatar city statistics department to do a survey to put some numbers with the stories.

Pameran Pasang Surut Urbanisasi Indonesia

Gauri Gadgil's picture
Also available in: English
Photo Credit: Andres Sevtsuk, Harvard City Form Lab

Minggu lalu saya berkunjung ke Bogor, 60 kilometer dari Jakarta dan hanya perlu satu jam lima belas menit untuk menuju kesana. Namun, diperlukan waktu tiga kali lebih lama untuk kembali ke Jakarta, karena macet akibat hujan deras.

Di lokasi lain di Jakarta, banjir terjadi di beberapa tempat. Mobil-mobil terjebak semalaman di basement tempat parkir café dan restoran di Kemang – sebuah kawasan terkenal yang sering kebanjiran akibat sistem drainase yang buruk dan kurangnya ruang hijau.

Inilah secuplik kehidupan di Jakarta yang tumbuh pesat, sebuah kawasan metropolitan yang di tahun 2028 bisa menggantikan Tokyo sebagai kota Asia dengan penduduk terbanyak.

On Display: The Highs and Lows of Indonesia’s Urbanization

Gauri Gadgil's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia
Photo Credit: Andres Sevtsuk, Harvard City Form Lab

Last weekend I visited Bogor, 60 km (37 miles) outside of Jakarta. It only took an hour and fifteen minutes to leave the city. Due to traffic caused by heavy rains, the drive back was almost three times as long.                
Elsewhere in Indonesia’s capital, neighborhoods were flooding. Cars were trapped overnight in basement parking lots of the cafes and restaurants of Kemang, a chic neighborhood where a poorly designed drainage system and lack of green space causes recurrent flooding.

Such is life in fast-growing Jakarta, a bustling metropolitan area that looks set to displace Tokyo in 2028 as Asia’s largest city by population.

Masyarakat bersatu membangun pasca bencana alam

George Soraya's picture
Also available in: English

Setelah gempa bumi besar di Yogyakarta, Indonesia, pada tahun 2006, kawasan kota dan sekitarnya harus membangun kembali atau memperbaiki sekitar 300 ribu rumah.
Pemerintah punya pilihan menyewa 1.000 kontraktor yang masing-masing akan membangun 300 rumah, atau mengerahkan 300 ribu anggota masyarakat untuk masing-masing membangun satu rumah, rumah mereka sendiri.
Dengan pemerintah sebagai pemimpin proses rekonstruksi, mengambil pilihan kedua dalam mendukung program pemerintah. Ini adalah cara kerja REKOMPAK.

Indonesia: Turning to unity for rebuilding communities after natural disasters

George Soraya's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

Following the massive earthquake in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, in 2006, the city and surrounding areas were faced with having to build or rehabilitate about 300-thousand homes.

The government had the option of hiring 1,000 contractors to build 300 houses each.  Or we could have 300 thousand people working to build one house each - their own homes. 

With the Government of Indonesia in the lead, we took the latter approach in supporting Indonesia’s efforts to rebuild communities. This is the REKOMPAK way.