Literature Review: Addressing Poverty Through City Development Strategies


This literature review explores some of the key issues relating to urban poverty, particularly as they impact upon strategies for city development. Following an introduction to City Development Strategies, their relationship to the Cities Alliance and the relationship of both to other initiatives, Section 2 is concerned with approaches to development and urbanisation. It starts by providing a brief overview of evolving perspectives on development and poverty, moves on to the evolution of approaches to urban planning and finally explores recent attempts to go beyond physical planning and take an overall view of city development. Section 3 explores approaches to poverty and poverty reduction, starting with the relatively simple income-based approaches and moving on to approaches that stress the importance of assets and vulnerability, livelihoods and social exclusion. Section 4 widens the perspective, exploring the economic context and the way in which this influences the possibilities for poverty reduction. The roles of municipalities and the informal sector in supporting and providing livelihoods are emphasised, as is the importance of secure tenure. Attention then turns to the potential of local economic development as a tool for poverty reduction. Section 5 explores the related issues of participation, development and governance. The role of decentralisation in bringing about improved governance is also examined. Section 6 provides a brief overview of a number of responses to poverty, including DFID’s Asset-based investment strategy, UNDP’s Urban Sustainable Livelihoods approach, the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and the City Community Challenge Funds. Finally, Section 7 provides a brief overview of poverty assessments carried out in the course of CDS exercises, focusing particularly on the poverty assessments carried out in Haiphong and Cali.


GHK Research and Training, London, UK, 71 pp.

Literature Review: Addressing Poverty Through City Development Strategies

Published 1 January 2001