Michael Lindfield Lead Urban Development Specialist Regional & Sustainable Development Department Asian Development Bank

Integrated Urban Planning
 Planning systems in many Asian cities are dysfunctional.  Planning cycles are unrealistically long in relation to the dynamic nature of Asian urbanization.  No incentives exist for their implementation. A possible approach: a combination of a high level strategic plan and an infrastructure investment plan designed to provide infrastructure which will reinforce the strategic directions of the high level plan.

Urban Governance
 Almost all Asian cities have outgrown their original municipal jurisdiction.  However, systems of metropolitan governance are largely inadequate, falling short in any or all of: their geographic coverage for planning and representation, sectoral coverage, and financial capacity to fund investment. A more effective model: voluntary formation of metropolitan councils and secretariats complimented by metro-wide service providers managed on a corporatized or concession basis.

Urban Financing
 Local government finance in Asia is a three level problem.  Local governments have often not collected the taxes they are due and have not set realistic tariffs.  They have been given unfunded mandates. The approach recommended: take the level of transfers as an opportunity rather than a problem. Incentives can be built into transfers to (a) collect taxes and fees due using matching grants; (b) undertake the needed infrastructure investments using matching grants and access to finance; and (c) leverage their funds using guarantees and facilitation funds for PPP activities.

Urban Financing (contd)
 Local governments are either prevented, or are strongly restricted in their access to the capital markets which in turn are constrained from providing such finance.
The local government financing system needs to be developed: • strengthening municipal development funds (which most countries have), • fostering a more commercial approach to investment, and • improving the enabling environment for local government debt issues.

Project and Program Design

Project design has tended to focus on technical solutions in specific sectors investment to solve immediate problems – usually of capacity shortfall.  Program design has tended to utilize sectoral project modalities which lack focus and systemic impact.

The recommended model: policy reform backed by clear and significant incentives allocated on a transparent basis.
ADB results-based assistance could provide incentives for: • improved revenue collection, reform of corporate governance, and investment quality; • formation of metro associations and metro wide, corporatized or concessioned utilities; and • expanding the use of the capital markets – both supply (finance) side and demand side (local government).


Knowledge activities should underpin all the above activities, need to be very operationally relevant and practical for users/ participants.
The panel was particularly enthusiastic about peer-to-peer learning ─ the ADB’s Water Operators Partnership (WOPs) could be emulated by a ‘City Managers Partnership’.

Thank You