Despite progress, South Asia has failed to capitalize on urbanization says the World Bank report released this week. Instead of using increasing urbanization as a vehicle to convey prosperity to a greater number of people, the countries of the region have “difficulty in dealing with the pressures that increased urban populations put on infrastructure, basic services, land, housing and the environment,” which in turn has fostered “messy and hidden” urbanization
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 to 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. 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. This publication 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.