Regional development

Thematic work on cities



Successful cities | Cities, climate change and green growth  |  Rural and urban linkages

Demographic change | Seminars

Successful cities and their policies in the face of urbanisation

The world is in the middle of an urbanisation process that will cause urbanisation rates to rise from low double digit rates to more than 80% by the end of the century. This is both a great opportunity and a great challenge, as decisions taken today will affect the lives of people for a long time to come. In order to shape the urbanisation process so that it benefits today’s residents and future generations, it is important to understand the causes and consequences of urbanisation

 The OECD has produced two reports that analyse urbanisation and provide suggestions how to improve the governance of large urban areas.


The Metropolitan Century   Governing the City

The Metropolitan Century
Understanding Urbanisation and its Consequences



Governing the City


Cities, climate change and green growth

Cities are home to over half of the world’s population and host to many of today’s environmental challenges. They are also catalysts for environmental policy solutions. In co-ordination with national, regional and local governments, the OECD has been working to bridge the divide between the achievement of ambitious environmental goals and economic development.

More densely populated cities tend to generate lower per capita CO2 emissions (based on data from the OECD Metropolitan Database).



The OECD hosted the Green Growth and Sustainable Urban Development side event to discuss how different levels of government can work effectively together to achieve green growth and sustainable urban development. Find out more about the side event.


How can governments deliver cost-effective policy responses to global economic and environmental challenges? The OECD synthesis report, Green Growth in Cities, draws on findings from a conceptual framework, in-depth urban-level green growth studies (Paris-IDFChicagoStockholm and Kytakyushu) and two national-level studies on urban green growth (China and Korea).



How can cities and metropolitan governments work in tandem with national governments to change the way we think about responding to climate change? Cities and Climate Change reveals the importance of addressing climate change across all levels of government. 





How can urban green growth models be adapted to the unique development context of Asian cities? OECD has launched the Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia project  to explore ways to achieve green growth in fast-growing cities in Asia.

The project is composed of three elements:

The Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia project is a key vector of the OECD Knowledge Sharing Alliance (KSA), which promotes mutual learning processes between OECD and emerging and developing economies.




Compact cities are not simply dense cities. Instead, they encompass a wider set of characteristics, including dense and proximate development patterns, built-up areas linked by public transport systems, and accessibility to local services and jobs. Compact City Policies: A Comparative Assessment (2012) offers a comprehensive understanding of the compact city concept, its role in today’s urban contexts, and the potential outcomes of compact city policies. 

Rural and urban linkages

Partnerships between urban and rural areas within a functional region are a unique form of territorial co-operation. When successful, rural-urban partnerships can improve the exploitation of existing resources, increase the economic potential of a region and generate greater well-being and equity in service provision. The OECD, in collaboration with the European Commission, is using a new analytical framework to assess urban-rural linkages and to help identify the governance forms that can enhance urban-rural interactions.

Related work:


Cities in the face of demographic change 

An increasingly ageing society: evolution and forecast of the elderly population (1950-2100)

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Across the OECD, the elderly population increased more than 1.5 times faster than the total population between 1995 and 2008 and is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades. According to UN statistics, 80% of older people in developed countries will live in urban areas by 2050. Cities thus have a critical role to play. The OECD project on Sustainable Urban Development Policies in Ageing Societies explores innovative approaches to urban development that can help mitigate the effects of ageing populations and make cities more sustainable and liveable for all generations. 


Related work:

Ageing and emploment practices


Transport infrastucture is an ingredient in regional development, as well as a key factor for making cities productive, sustainable, liveable and inclusive.

Recent reports on transport.

Cover: Raod Infrastrcture Korea  

 Road Infrastructure, Inclusive Development
and Traffic Safety in Korea

 The Impact of Road Infrastructure Investment
on Incumbent Firms in Korea
 Traffic Safety in Korea: Understanding
the Vulnerability of Elderly Pedestrians





What cities for the next 3 billion?



Full list of OECD Seminars