Regions and cities



Regions and cities play a role in making our societies more resilient and sustainable, as they are confronted with, and have to manage, the health, economic, and environmental crises that often arise locally or have an impact on local populations and communities. The COVID-19 global crisis has underlined the pressing need to upgrade health infrastructure, accelerate digital and climate transition, as well as to ensure social housing and public transport performance, among others. Much of this infrastructure falls under the responsibility of subnational government, including health care (hospitals, primary care health centres, etc.), social services, education (primary and secondary schools, higher education), public transport, roads, social housing, utility networks (water, waste, energy, etc.), and ICT infrastructure.


Megatrends such as digitalisation, climate change, demographic change, and urbanisation have deepened the demand for additional investment in quality infrastructure in regions and cities. Urbanisation requires upgrades in urban infrastructure to meet rising demand. The number of people living in cities (high-density places of at least 50 000 inhabitants) has more than doubled over the last 40 years – from 1.5 billion inhabitants in 1975 to 3.5 billion in 2015. By 2050, it is projected to reach 5 billion people, representing almost 55% of the world population.


Key solutions
  • Integrate infrastructure investment priorities in broader regional or local development strategies, and co-ordinate investments vertically across levels of government and horizontally across sectors and jurisdictions.
  • Strengthen coordination across sectors, levels of government and among jurisdictions, as well as strengthening capacities of subnational governments to design and implement public investment projects.
  • Integrate long-term priorities such as advancing the digital transition, targeting climate priorities, improving health care, and investing in smart public transport and quality housing, into COVID-19 recovery strategies.





Documents and links

World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment 

 Unlocking infrastructure investment: Innovative funding and financing in regions and cities (2021)

Regions and Globalisation: Redefining regional attractiveness

Tracking and Enhancing Subnational Climate-related Finance for Climate Action

OECD Regional Recovery Platform

APEC-OECD Report on Financing Infrastructure in APEC Economies (2019)

  Subnational Public Private Partnerships: Meeting Infrastructure Challenges (2018)

 Subnational Governments in OECD countries: Key data

 Building a Global Compendium on Land Value Capture


Implementation and capacity-building

SIPA - Sustainable Infrastructure Programme in Asia

Effective Public Investment Across Levels of Government - Implementation Toolkit and Monitoring




Related Documents