The World Bank is an institution aimed to give technical and financial support to developing countries. As usually in this kind of institutions the financial operations are conducted taking into account internal and external reports on various matters. Urban development is among them, an unsurprising fact in a world in which the urban population grows in developing countries, set to see the area of their cities multiply by three from 2000 to 2030.
The Bank launched in 2009 its new Urban Strategy, in which the ECO2Cities strategy : ecologic cities as economic cities, is inscribed. The aim is to help the cities of developing countries to adopt sustainable urban patterns, as well in economic as in ecological terms, that are viewed as complementary and not as opposed. The book presented marks the end of the first stage of the strategy, having developed an analytical and operational framework that should be subject to adaptations to local conditions.
The book is structured as follows:
- Part 1: description of the initiative, the challenges and the lessons learnt from various cities.
- Part 2: presentation of a city-based decision support system. Different issues are integrated, as the participation of citizens and of private and government actors, flow and economic/environmental cost lifecycle assessments, forecasting workshops methodologies and climatic resiliency planning.
- Part 3: field reference guide, with background literature, a detailed vision of infrastructural issues, and good practices.
The text is based on the classical sources on sustainable planning, as Ian McHarg’s Design with Nature (1969), widening the scope to introduce an economic perspective.
As with other products of the World Bank, it can be criticized from an ideological or technical perspective; anyway, it is a structured proposal with a wide vision on urban problems that occur in varied contexts.