As urban populations grow and evolve, there are significant challenges in developing sustainable and inclusive economies that can employ large youth demographics and are resilient to stresses and shocks. The public sector's role differs from city to city, but crucially, city and regional governments should aim to provide a suitable enabling environment for business while supporting sustainable growth through aspects such as transport and power infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT) and high-quality urban environments. It is also vital to sustainable development that economic development is low-carbon and the resulting jobs are accessible to all, including persons with disabilities.

How can UrbanEmerge help?

Urban economic development planning

UrbanEmerge works with clients to develop or evaluate industrial development and urban-regional economic development strategies, which aim to identify and enhance economic activities with growth and spill-over potential that can maximise jobs.

When linking local economic development to wider regional and global networks, there is often a role for Special Economic Zones, Economic Corridors or Industrial Parks which encourage businesses to grow in favourable conditions and cluster together, forming agglomeration economies. These must be considered in the context of interrelated local value chains that form part of a growing economic system for cities and regions. We support clients to create a conducive environment, including via non-spatial productivity drivers such as innovation, skills, enterprise and competition, that can unleash agglomeration economies. Proactive inclusion of marginalised groups in economic development initiatives is a constant goal that we advocate and help clients achieve. This includes marginalised youth and women, persons with disabilities and in certain contexts, ethnic groups.


Enhancing value chain performance and urban-rural economic linkages

In the context of many low and middle-income economies, urban development can act as a driver for the economic and social development of surrounding rural areas.

We can help clients to understand and enhance important linkages between urban and rural economies. UrbanEmerge partners are experts in sustainable economic development and in analysing value chains. We have worked with a variety of approaches including location quotient analysis to understand how best to improve the business enabling environment, catalyse investment in supporting infrastructure and attract investment into key economic sectors.


Climate smart and resilient livelihoods

UrbanEmerge can help to design and support initiatives to reduce the reliance on livelihoods and infrastructure that is vulnerable to climate change.

Climate change is already impacting traditional rain-fed agriculture in countries in East Africa and other regions, where longer periods of drought followed by short periods of intensive rainfall are leading to reduced yields and future uncertainty. Supporting the development of livelihoods that are resilient to the shocks and stresses of climate change is becoming very urgent. This may include investment in irrigation or diversification of a regional economy away from traditional agriculture and towards other green economy activities. The ability to store and process materials is often a very important aspect of resilient livelihoods.