Urban Fold

How Cities Miss the 'World Class' Mark

A recent article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog argues that instead of chasing gleaming skyscrapers, planners in developing cities should build a new model of the "world class" city.

Oren Ahoobim, Laura Goldman, and Shanti Mahajan want to “redefine the ‘world-class city’ as an inclusive city.” After surveying many developing cities chasing the model of Singapore and Dubai, “a modern skyline, a high level of efficiency, and an absence of visible signs of poverty,” the team finds many examples of cities misplacing priorities and deepening social chasms.

“Municipal leaders pursue this ‘world-class’ vision to attract investment, to cultivate their cities’ integration into the global economy, and to improve the quality of living standards. Too often, however, those benefits accrue only to the wealthiest and most powerful residents of a city.”

Ahoobim, Goldman, and Mahajan site the suppression of informal economies and the funding of commercial properties at the expense of infrastructure as two examples of the misplaced priorities of developing cities. The propose their own inclusive vision for development in response.

Full Story: What Makes a “World-Class” City?

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