OECD Regional Outlook 2014

Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet

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Regions and cities are on the front lines of many challenges faced by OECD countries today, from education and jobs to health care and quality of life. Getting regions and cities “right”, adapting policies to the specificities of where people live and work,  is vital to improving citizens’ well-being. This second edition of the OECD Regional Outlook aims to help countries do just that. Part I describes the main trends and challenges today. Part II has a special focus on cities, looking at public investment, urban framework policies, and rural-urban issues. Part III presents a Policy Forum on the future of cities, with five contributions from distinguished authors and policy makers. Part IV offers profiles of regional development in all 34 OECD countries.

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Urbanisation as opportunity

This chapter explores the implications of the fact that humanity’s “urbanisation project” is likely to be largely completed by the end of this century, implying that the coming decades will see urban growth that is without precedent in history in terms of its scale and speed. The authors explore both the challenges and opportunities associated with this process, arguing that, if well-managed, the coming wave of urbanisation will enable people to build cities that will be sustainable and liveable for a very long time to come. However, the consequences of wrong choices could be equally enduring. Rather than trying to anticipate a single model of urbanisation that governments should purse, they argue for experimentation and a fairly decentralised approach, albeit one rooted in a few basic principles of urban planning. Since much urban growth is expected in countries with weak institutional capacity, such simplicity is seen as an advantage.

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