Why Latin America Needs a Planning Revolution

Futile efforts to deal with rampant urbanization could fetter the region's robust economy and squander its potential to become a global economic powerhouse, according to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).
August 15, 2011, 5am PDT | Jeff Jamawat
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In a 60-page report titled "Building globally competitive cities: The key to Latin America growth," MGI argues that the region's largest cities are so "congested, poorly planned and dangerous" that "their institutional, social and environmental support structures have not kept up with their expanding populations."

The Economist weighs in, stressing the importance of establishing good planning practices in this emerging part of the world:

"Compared with their peers in developed countries, Latin America's top ten cities are unsafe, suffer endemic housing shortages, poor schooling and weak health services. They are also inefficient in their energy use and waste management."

"Unplanned sprawl leads to a shortage of green space, strains transport systems, and makes it hard for businesses or housing developers to find sites. All this is harder still when cities expand beyond their political boundaries, creating problems of co-ordination (Mexico City is split between the Federal District and the surrounding State of Mexico, for example). [...] Along with land use, transport is the biggest headache facing city authorities. Vehicle ownership is likely to expand by 4% a year over the next 15 years, further clogging the streets."

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Published on Saturday, August 13, 2011 in The Economist
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