Intermediary cities at a global scale

Are you aware that in 2011, cities with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants accounted for about 50% of the world urban population?

Cities with populations ranging between 500,000 and 1 million were equivalent to 10.1 % of the world urban population. In conclusion, cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants account for 61 % cent of the world urban population. (World Urbanization Prospects The 2011 Revision. United Nations)

In the global urban context, the growing gap between intermediary cities and large metropolitan areas and cities is evident. The lack of adequate planning strategies in the former requires a response from researchers and practitioners, particularly as these cities are expected to absorb much of the urban growth in Southern countries, resulting in an unprecedented demand for services.

 In the context of sustainable development and looking at the future Global Agenda it will be important to assess what kind of support is required to attend the needs of these agglomerations that will need to service a great part of the world’s population.  This will be one of the main objectives of the UCLG committee on Urban Strategic planning, focusing on intermediary cities in 2013. There will be specific attention paid to the role of the Local Governments Associations and the capacity they will need to develop in order to attend these specific needs. A third dimension of the work will be to assess the new roles that regional governments will have to play.

A Framework document on strategies and planning in intermediary cities is currently being drawn up by UCLG in collaboration with the Intermediary Cities network (CIMES). This document is mobilizing experts, UCLG members, practitioners, academics and UN agencies in order to construct an agreed shared policy position for Intermediary City representatives.  

The document will be presented, first for discussion at an International Forum in Lleida on 28-29 June, and then on the UCLG World Congress in Rabat. 

We would appreciate more inputs from our members: don’t hesitate to send us your feedback!

South-South and Triangular Cooperation will be key to promote efficient knowledge exchange between cities and among Associations. Our EU funded project on exchange between the cities of Brazil and Mozambique is delivering interesting insights on the challenges and benefits of city-to-city cooperation, and is an opportunity to support southern associations to broaden their services.

 The Kwa Zulu Natal region in South Africa partnered with Kwa-Dukuza city for the first African peer learning on UCLG Intermediary cities and will support further knowledge exchange through networking approach of their Intermediary cities.   Recently, the Santa Fe region in Argentina has requested support to mobilize cities in the region, revise planning procedures, and to build capacity to advance the Latin America peer learning agenda.

Upcoming activities: Join us in Lleida, Spain

The next milestone in the I-C agenda towards the UCLG Congress in Rabat will be forum in the city of Lleida. City representatives and experts will discuss “Territorial Economy and Policies” of Intermediary Cities that have strong relationships with their urban and rural surroundings. Cases will be analysed on the possible impact on local economic development and the experience of the host city will be show-cased., The forum will focus on the challenges of local economic development, strategic planning, and policy development for these types of cities. It will also be an opportunity to discuss in depth the framework document and gather insights from around the world.

 Should you be interested in this agenda, please write to the UCLG Secretariat so that we can include you in upcoming initiatives and activities.