The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 72

Urban Management In Less Developed Countries


26 July 1995

Authors: Michael Mattingly

Publication Date: 1995

Better management of human settlements in the less developed countries has become a priority if the aspirations of citizens, governments and the concerned international community are to be realised. Recognition of this need has been prompted by a growing awareness that cities, towns, and villages have functions to perform which are as important as those of rural areas.

While urban centres have undergone substantial growth and change, urban systems have been neglected, resulting almost everywhere in conditions which are unacceptable by any criteria. This neglect has not only taken the form of meagre resources for essential actions and indifference to the absence of institutions capable of acting, but it has also cultivated a general vagueness about the specific nature of the responsibilities involved and who will bear them.

The call for better management of urban areas is an attempt to respond to past neglect. Yet much remains confused about the purposes, nature, scope, and distribution of responsibilities which may be meant by the concept of urban management. 

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