Developers‘ profit can fund public urban infrastructure’

Last changed: 27 March 2020
Seminar at the World Urban Forum 2020

Infrastructure is the key to the city, particularly in the Global South context, where infrastructure can unlock the economy in countries with high unemployment and low investment. How to fund infrastructure and govern it are vitally important questions.

 The question of how to fund infrastructure in the Global South was considered in a session organised by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, which discussed “Land Value Capture”, Land Value Capture is a system that allows the state to raise funds, either directly or indirectly, that ensures that some of the profit made by developers is returned to the communities, and that development helps fund and maintain the infrastructure that it relies upon. Marti Smolka talked about a system in Sao Paulo where development only required an additional levy if it was over a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1, reflecting that tall buildings in a city have a single connection to infrastructure but require additional capacity.

Apart from acquiring funding, how that funding is spent is also vitally important, and in a session organised by the African Centre for Cities, at the University of Cape Town, the notion of “Cities of Integrity” was introduced. Dieter Zinnbauer looked at the financial scale of infrastructure and the ways funding might be siphoned off corruptly, using examples that show that such corruption is not only an issue in the Global South. To help stem this tide, planning educator Gilbert Siame discussed how he was developing ethics and professional practice education in Zambia, where a small number of planners are both working for developers and the state, creating conflicts of interest.

Julian Raxworthy
Honorary Associate Professor, ATCH (Architecture, Theory, Criticism and History) Research Centre, School of Architecture, University of Queensland


World Urban Forum

Organised and convened by UN-Habitat, the World Urban Forum has become the foremost international gathering for exchanging views and experiences on sustainable urbanisation in all its ramifications. The inclusive nature of the Forum, combined with high-level participation, makes it a unique United Nations conference and the premier international gathering on urban issues.

SLU at the World Urban Forum 2020

SLU's participation at the World Urban Forum is supported by SLU Global and led by Zeinab Tag-Eldeen, Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development, and coordinator of the Research Platform ‘Sparking Research into Global Transformation’. SLU arranges side events where research results in the field of sustainable urban development are presented. You will also find SLU in an exhibition stand at the Urban Expo.

Julian Raxworthy, PhD

Julian Raxworthy is an Australian landscape architect and academic, currently residing in Dubai, after 5 years in Cape Town. He is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and reporting from the World Urban Forum for SLU Urban Futures.

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