Thematic focus of regional learning processes - worldwide

Connective Cities has identified thematic areas that are relevant for the respective region and are likely to attract the interest of cities and their stakeholders.

The thematic focus of regional learning processes with local practitioners is based on the concrete needs of cities as well as on the framework conditions of urbanization and urban development in the regions. Against this background, Connective Cities has, on the basis of various analyses (empirical data on urbanization, strategies of international and regional actors, assessments of needs of national city associations), identified the general thematic fields that are relevant for the respective region and are likely to meet with the interests of the cities and their stakeholders . 

Thematic Focus of Learning Process

Sub-Sahara Africa:

Basic Urban Services and Sector Governance

Middle East and North Africaa (MENA):

Local Economic Development

Southern/Eastern Europe / South Caucasus:

Integrated Urban Development


Green Urban Infrastructure

Latin America

Climate-proof and Resilient Urban Development


Sub-Sahara Africa

  • In Sub-Sahara Africa, the challenges for sustainable urban development lie primarily in rapid urbanization with high land consumption and urban sprawl. This, combined with weak economic development in the cities, leads to inadequate basic services and urban infrastructure, often exacerbated by a lack of good governance. From this, we can derive the topics of basic urban services and improving the framework conditions for the provision of municipal services. Topics include water and sanitation, solid waste management, public sector management in municipalities and of municipal/local utilities, accountability and transparency, participation as well as climate resilient public services.

Middle East and North Africa

  • In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, other factors are driving rapid urbanization: economic growth, conflicts in the context of violent conflicts and the resulting migration processes, the increase in climate change-related droughts and poverty-related rural-urban migration, environmental degradation and increasing vulnerability to climate change. The primary cities grew into metropolitan areas. However, the majority of urban growth takes place in secondary cities, with highly centralized government modalities at the same time. The Mashreq countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Syria) are home to about 50% of the world's registered refugees, which leads to increased pressure on cities. The growth of youth (60% of the population is under 25 years old) and unemployment rates of up to 70% for men (in the age group of 15-25-year-olds) with primary education demonstrate the importance of local economic development. The focus is on multi-stakeholder approaches, strategy formulation and action planning for LED, strengthening of local labor markets (especially for youth, women and refugees), improvement of municipal services for LED as well as inter-municipal and cross-sectoral collaboration and communication.

Southern/Eastern Europe/South Caucasus

  • In the Southern/Eastern Europe/South Caucasus region, urbanization is concentrated in a few large cities. Many small and medium-sized towns, on the other hand, are experiencing declining populations. The outward migration of young mobile population groups leads to an ageing population structure and rising per capita costs for municipal services. Against this background, the topic of integrated urban development with further emphasis on the aspects of good governance and citizen participation as well as the modernization of municipal services through decentralization and cross-sector cooperation is a needs-based starting point.


  • In Asia, accelerated and largely unplanned urban growth is leading to the rapid expansion of mega-cities. Inadequate instruments and resources for comprehensive spatial planning in urban regions offset the pressure of (natural) urban population growth on infrastructure, basic services, land, housing and the environment. The high environmental impact of consumption and transport shows the need for the development of green infrastructure in the context of integrated urban development. Contents include the decentralization of public services, climate-friendly mobility in cities, approaches for integrated resource management (water-food-energy nexus), integrated waste and recycling management and ecosystem-based urban development.

Latin America

  • In Latin America, an already high degree of urbanization is accompanied by an increasing importance of intermediate cities. Large cities in particular are highly vulnerable to climate events and need to adapt accordingly. The region has the highest social inequality in the world in terms of income distribution and wealth differences between urban districts. After the already achieved decentralization, many cities still lack sufficient capacities for the provision of local services. The proposed theme for this region is climate-proof and resilient urban development, which deals with the provision of climate-change-adapted municipal services (water, sanitary facilities, mobility, energy), taking into account innovative financing mechanisms, and addresses disaster prevention and protection.

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