Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development
Edited by Robert Huggins and Piers Thompson
Chapter 17: Urban land, infrastructure and competitiveness in the global South
The determinants of a region’s competitive advantage, and therefore its ability to sustain economic progress, are the quality of local productive inputs and how well they complement each other. Theories of regional competitiveness in the advanced global North have placed emphasis on ‘soft’ or intangible assets at the expense of physical resources. The tendency to relegate the importance of the built environment also stems from its perception as an inert productive input with diminishing returns, rather than a dynamic resource and a source of ongoing improvements to productivity and competitive advantage. This chapter argues that the urban land and infrastructure system (ULIS) is a cornerstone of regional prosperity and too important to be neglected. A functional and adaptable ULIS amplifies and reinforces the other, softer drivers of competitiveness. Improving the ULIS is particularly important for countries in the global South that are undergoing rapid urbanization in order to accelerate economic progress. Better urban management could help to prevent worsening urban congestion, land-use conflicts, squalid living conditions and a host of related problems. Neglecting the urban form will give rise to common-pool liabilities rather than decent and productive places. It will lock in inefficiency, poverty and social exclusion for decades. This chapter examines the three core pillars of the ULIS: land management, infrastructure investment and coordination of the built environment. Each has an independent effect on productivity and development, but as the chapter illustrates that their influence is enhanced if they combine together and reinforce each other in a cumulative, city-wide process.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.