چالش های برنامه ریزی توسعه بین المللی: دروس مقدماتی در مورد اتحاد شهرها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|27390||2006||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||4500 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Cities, Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2006, Pages 56–62
In 1999, the World Bank and the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS) helped launch the Cities Alliance. According to its promoters, it is a global association of development partners interested in improving urban living conditions in the developing world. This paper is a preliminary critique and focuses on three significant aspects of the Alliance’s intentions and strategy: collaboration and synergy, decentralization, and implementation. Three key aspects of the strategy present significant challenges and need additional policy attention. First is a possibility of unresolved differences inherent in the Alliance’s approach. Second, the city focus does not address metropolitan and regional coordination. And third is a lack of robust research to support some of the implementation initiatives. The Alliance’s strategies and challenges are similar to the approaches and limitations of international development planning, and this paper is thus also an assessment of conventional practices in development planning.
The Cities Alliance is a global association of development partners. According to the Alliance’s website, all its partners share an interest in improving the living conditions of the urban poor in developing countries.1 The World Bank and the United Nations Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS) – now known as the UN-Habitat – were pivotal in the formation of the coalition in May 1999. In addition, the bilateral development agencies and foreign ministries of many donor-countries, including the United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, and a few others, represent their governments as members of the alliance. Four associations of local authorities – International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), United Towns Organization (UTO),2 Metropolis, and World Association of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC) – are also founding members of the group. The Consultative Group of members is responsible for developing the Alliance’s long-term strategy and approving its annual work program. The group is co-chaired by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat and by a Vice President (Private Sector Development and Infrastructure) at the World Bank. However, the Alliance operates through a small secretariat based in the World Bank’s offices in Washington, DC, and the Bank may play a more prominent role because of this locational nesting. A key premise of the Cities Alliance is that the world is in the midst of an urban millennium and that the social and economic future of countries is increasingly being determined in their urban areas: “the centers of productivity, knowledge generation, and technological innovation” (UNCHS, 1999a, p. 8). The Alliance’s members hope to improve the efficiency and impact of urban development in developing countries. They are guided by the population projection that by the year 2020, 4.4 billion people or 60% of the world’s population will be urban (UNCHS, 1999b, p. 2). Furthermore, between 1995 and 2015, the number of mega-cities (cities with populations greater than 10 million) is expected to double to 26 (World Bank, 1999, p. 25). The Alliance’s associates, however, are also motivated by their desire to pool together their resources in the context of the existing environment of fiscal austerity and shrinking development budgets. The paper describes and critiques some of the underlying ideas and intentions of this new attempt at international development. I focus on three key aspects and argue that the Cities Alliance’s policies are likely to raise significant challenges. First, I explain the Alliance’s intention to build consensus among various stakeholders, and its objective to develop a “win–win” strategy. But I suggest that there is a possibility of unresolved differences, including conflicts of interest, that are inherent in this approach and that need more attention. Second, I discuss the Alliance’s focus on decentralization and policy action at the city-level, and caution that the city focus does not address the need for metropolitan and regional coordination. Third, I elaborate the Alliance’s attention on “doing things”, or implementation, including institutional reform. But I suggest that there is the likelihood of flawed implementation procedures due to the absence of robust empirical research to guide policy and practice. The Alliance may have embedded within its strategy internal contradictions, which if left unaddressed are likely to lead to conflict and potential ineffectiveness. Moreover, because the three key approaches of the Alliance are analogous to the current beliefs and strategies in international development, I also suggest that conventional development planning suffers from similar pitfalls. In other words, the three-point policy emphasis – collaboration and synergy, decentralization, and implementation – has inherent within it the potential seeds of long term, detrimental effects. I also use the tripartite policy structure as an organizing framework for the main body of the paper. In the concluding section, I recapitulate the main arguments of the paper and suggest some recommendations. Collaboration and synergy One of the guiding principles of conventional development planning is collaboration with the expectation of achieving synergy (Evans, 1997). A key outcome of this intention is the current emphasis on public–private partnerships and associations in development (Asian Development Bank, 1999 and Payne, 1999). The premise of the approach is that different institutional actors bring different strengths and comparative advantages to cooperative and multi-institutional efforts in development projects. The Cities Alliance, “a global association”, is also the result of such an emphasis, as it focuses on cooperation, institutional pluralism, and consensus building. Furthermore, such a collaboration-based strategic approach is also compatible with the prevailing focus on social networks and social capital (Putnam, 1993 and Putnam, 2000). In its own operations, the Alliance is explicit about its intentions, and claims that it will only fund partnership-efforts of multiple stakeholders. Its underpinning is that its funding and technical support will help to bring together disparate actors that are less likely to cooperate otherwise. Another related arena is the public recognition of the role of civil society organizations and corresponding attempts to involve non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in development efforts (Sanyal, 1994). The Alliance is noteworthy in its commitment to more actively involving NGOs and other grassroots-based organizations. For example, its Community-led Infrastructure Finance Facility (CLIFF) – a new finance facility designed to work in partnership with community-based organizations (CBOs) and NGOs, and provide bridge-loans and loan-guarantees for urban upgrading projects – with Homeless International, a UK-based NGO, and its Indian NGO partners, Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and the National Slum-Dwellers Federation (NSDF), appears to be an innovative and promising policy experiment. More strategically, the Alliance has decided to emphasize its activities in two key areas: (a) City Development Strategies (CDS) through comprehensive action plans focused on improved urban governance, fiscal responsibility and the establishment of clear priorities for action and investments. The development strategies are to be based on an assessment of each city’s economic growth prospects and are aimed at enhancing its competitiveness. (b) Slum upgrading through citywide and national housing and habitat improvement programs. This approach is in contrast to a strategy of pilot, or demonstration, projects. Instead, it is focused on directly scaling-up upgrading activities. It is not surprising that the two focus areas, to an extent, represent the different underlying interests of the Alliance’s key founding organizations. The CDS, inspired by the work of Michael Porter on urban competitiveness (1995), are more responsive to the World Bank’s economic development priorities (Cities Alliance, 2000). Slum upgrading, on the other hand, more precisely matches the United Nations’, specifically the UN-Habitat’s, interest in housing and infrastructure provision in human settlements.3 This is not surprising. In cases of cooperation, different institutional actors are likely to advocate their own core institutional interests. Nor is this idea necessarily problematic. On the contrary, the idea of synergy is based on the assumption that disparate stakeholders will bring different strengths and different interests to the table. However, because of the different institutional genesis of disparate foci of interest, problems and conflicts are not only possible but are also highly likely. In the case of the Alliance, the dual and parallel efforts in two focus areas can represent an embedded contradiction between enhanced economic competitiveness and better housing conditions for the poor. Many development planners would like to believe that the two objectives are always mutually reinforcing. However, there are examples of intractable conflicts between the two, such as the infamous Poletown neighborhood case in Michigan, where an established residential neighborhood was evicted to allow for the expansion of a factory that would provide jobs to the local community,4 and the tragic Union Carbide catastrophe in Bhopal, where lax standards allowed a chemical plant to operate profitably but facilitated a toxic gas (methyl isocyanate) leak that killed and disabled thousands, particularly neighboring residents (Jones, 1988). The Alliance needs to anticipate and explicitly address such potential contradictions and scenarios, perhaps by making its primary priority clear. Some critics, however, would also argue that deep and intractable differences exist in the underlying ideologies at the World Bank and the United Nations (Davis, 2004). While the Bank is relatively optimistic about globalization and sees slums as a product of poor governance and urban management, the United Nations is more critical of globalization and neoliberal economic development policies for being responsible for the growth in the slum population of developing countries (UN-Habitat, 2003). In all fairness, however, the Alliance is not the only development actor to pay insufficient attention to potential disagreements and contradictions. And a good case can be made that effective development can only be achieved by balancing contradictory and paradoxical demands (Mukhija, 2001a). But most of the development literature on social capital and public–private partnerships is guilty of overwhelming optimism. For example, many empirical studies suggest that conflicts are possible when multiple actors are involved (Schmitz, 1999 and Sanyal and Mukhija, 2001). These studies do not argue against collaboration but they do point out the need for planning and institutional arrangements to resolve conflicts. Other scholars have similarly argued that the current emphasis on social capital and networks for development ignores the likelihood of disagreements that can prevent the fostering of social cohesion and capital (Fine, 1999). Development planners must be aware of the less optimistic prospect of conflicts in collaboration. It is the only way of mitigating and avoiding costly disputes and unintended outcomes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Given the prevailing environment of fiscal constraints and limitations, the Cities Alliance is likely to be more effective if it becomes an agency of innovation and challenges the conventional policies of development planning.10 But the Alliance’s success will depend on its ability to manage the contradictions and meet the tests that are likely to rise in the process of it implementing its policies and agenda. As argued in this paper, many of the Alliance’s strategies and approaches need to be augmented and replaced with complementary and alternative approaches. First, I empathize with the Alliance’s approach to create synergy and meet the paradoxical demands of international development planning. However, to achieve success it must consider the possibility of disputes and conflicts of interest between its disparate group of international stakeholders. It must anticipate disagreements and clearly spell-out its priorities in likely conflictual situations. For example, the World Bank’s housing policy paper – Housing: Enabling Markets to Work – explicitly recommends that environmental concerns should not be used for slum clearance ( 1993, p. 47). Similarly, given the Alliance’s twin emphasis on economic development and housing improvements for the poor, it would be useful if it made an explicit statement that makes it clear that the Alliance will not prioritize economic development planning over slum upgrading possibilities. In addition, it should analyze how paradoxical and contradictory goals are met in practice and draw lessons from them. Nonetheless, the Alliance should also put in place conflict resolution procedures and mechanisms. Second, the Alliance should also explore opportunities for developing regional governance institutions and not focus only on citywide institutional arrangements. Theoretically, it might be possible to have politically and administratively decentralized units at the city level and still have the larger region function as a cohesive economic unit. In practice, however, implementing regional growth strategies and achieving cooperation is likely to be an uphill endeavor in the absence of regional governance institutions. Similarly, political decentralization has many advantages. In particular, its advocates point to the likelihood of greater efficiency and more responsive public service delivery because of competition among local governments. But the urban experience from the United States clearly indicates that decentralization can be a double-edged sword. In addition to cities and suburbs as decentralized political jurisdictions finding it difficult to develop strategies of cooperation once competition gets embedded in their institutional framework, there is likely to be greater social inequity and conflict in such regions. For the alliance, a more prudent approach would be to explicitly consider (and promote) regional development policies and metropolitan planning to augment the prevailing neoliberal push toward political, administrative and financial decentralization and balkanization. Moreover, the potential positive contribution of national policies should not be ignored through a singular focus on city-level institutions. Third, the Alliance should also take a lead in promoting productive urban research. There is an important need for challenging the conventional mindset that assumes that we know everything, and we just need to improve the sharing of information. Nonetheless, I agree that there is a need for better databases and easier access to information. Fortunately improvements in information technology indicate the possibility of better data sharing. However, to assume that there is little need for more research and analysis is a recipe for disaster and unintended outcomes. In this context, the Alliance should also reexamine the usefulness of pilot projects as a tool for learning and institutional reform. Finally, a key premise of this paper is that these challenges and criticisms are not limited to the Cities Alliance. On the contrary, and even though one of the stated objectives of the association is to influence changes in the development agenda and approach of its member organizations, I have tried to demonstrate that the Alliance is following the conventional wisdom of policies and prevailing approaches in international development planning. Thus this critique and the suggestions offered in the article are also relevant for the larger field of development planning. At the same time, the Alliance because of its unique position can provide some of the key players in international development planning an opportunity to move away from the conventional practices and experiment with alternative approaches. It is, however, unclear if the involved stakeholders are keen to use the opportunity.