Experts highlight evidence gaps in particular on the political economy of urban service delivery; social and political participation by urban poor people; the relationship between urbanisation, urban poverty and urban violence; the relationship between state fragility, state legitimacy and the national political settlement; and what works and what does not in tackling political economy constraints to urban development.
Key findings on the principal political economy constraints to urban development are:
- Wider political economy context: constraints include when “the growth, complexity and density of urban areas outpaces the development of governance and institutional structures to manage them” (expert comment); combined pressures such as the rate of urbanisation and environmental changes; the relationship with the country’s broader political settlement; and national contexts of conflict and fragility.
- Governance framework: constraints include policy incoherence and institutional fragmentation, incomplete decentralisation, and the proliferation of service providers; effects of city politics; the role of informal political incentives.
- Urban poor people’s political agency: constraints include electoral dynamics; clientelism; and elite capture of services and decision-making processes.
- Collective action: constraints include social and political polarisation; transient poor populations living in informality; and exploitation by community organisations.
- Service delivery dynamics: significant research on political economy constraints of the water and sanitation sector, as well as some analysis on housing and transport sectors.
- Conflict and violence: risk factors include the rapidity of urban growth, social and income inequalities, and legacies of conflict (Muggah 2012); impacts include the effect of insecurity and violence on urban social capital and social cohesion; and analysis of the political economy of “fragile” cities.
- Vulnerable groups: how processes of exclusion and adverse incorporation in cities are differently experienced by, in particular, women and girls, youth, rural migrants, foreign immigrants and slum dwellers.