The Future of Asian & Pacific Cities

Transformative Pathways Towards Sustainable Urban Development

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This report is an important resource to explore critical and emerging policy opportunities to realize urban sustainability for the Asian and Pacific region. It informs policies and actions from a sustainable development perspective, putting cities at the centre of development policy debates. It identifies future policy pathways for urban decision makers and stakeholders to reimagine the built and natural environments in Asian and Pacific cities and offers policy solutions across different types of cities to achieve the global development agendas. The solutions address four major development challenges – natural resource management, climate change, disaster risk and inequalities – through a focus on the key means of implementation to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.



The future of urban resilience

In 2030, the mayor of a medium-sized Asia-Pacific city receives a phone call from the chief executive officer of a multinational corporation. The CEO regrets to inform the mayor that, due to changing market conditions and international tariffs, her company will be closing a manufacturing facility in the city, resulting in the loss of thousands of well-paying jobs. While the city has bent over backwards to accommodate the multinational manufacturer with an excellent location near public transport, these macroeconomic and political forces are simply beyond the city’s control. A decade earlier, the mayor might have panicked, as the manufacturer had injected much needed employment opportunities and played a part in growing the city into an emerging technology hub and had become the city’s leading employer in the process. However, once the company had settled, the city worked with business leaders and community groups to offer entrepreneurship classes, and it provided incentives for small businesses that could draw on the growing base of workers with high-tech manufacturing skills. Over time, the number of people working for small businesses spun out of the manufacturer’s arrival came to exceed the number working at the factory. While the company’s closure will be a blow to the city’s economy, the mayor takes the news in stride and begins brainstorming on how the factory could be subdivided into smaller specialized manufacturing facilities for multiple small enterprises.


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