Submissions Accepted for Presentation at the World Bank Land Conference 2024

The conference agenda provides an overview and details of sessions. In order to view sessions on a specific day or for a certain room, please select an appropriate date or room link. You may also select a session to explore available abstracts and download papers and presentations.

Session Overview
03-05: Using new data to inform urban policies: Bridging the gap between theory and practice
Wednesday, 15/May/2024:
8:00am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Tanner Regan, George Washington University, United States of America
Location: MC 8-100

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Building foundations for smarter cities: A data ecosystem approach

Gayatri Singh1, Champaka Rajagopal2

1World Bank, Mozambique; 2World Bank, City Planning Labs Global

In recent years, practitioners and researchers alike have debated whether quality of life for all can be influenced by smart cities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Critics have shown how siloed governance arrangements, technology bias and fragmented interventions in government led smart cities programs tend to exacerbate uneven development, increase disparities in access to basic services, and can thwart equitable (re)distribution of resources, leaving city governments politically, administratively, economically and financially weaker. To address these challenges, the World Bank’s City Planning Labs (CPL) promotes an ecosystem approach to Municipal Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) where technology solutions are integrated with human, legal and technical aspects. This paper shows how CPL’s successful efforts in three pilot cities in Indonesia, Semarang, Balikpapan and Denpasar (2017-21), the use of the MSDI approach brought governments closer to inhabitants during the COVID-19 crisis, creating wider demand globally for embracing ecosystem approaches to data governance for smarter cities.


Beyond the Surface: Uncovering the complex interplay of intra-urban inequality in developing countries

Hogeun Park, Nancy Lozano Gracia, Giuseppe Rossitti, Olivia D'aoust

World Bank Group

This paper employs literature review and spatial analytics, including satellite imagery and cellphone-based mobility assessment, to examine intra-urban inequality in developing country cities. This structural problem is exacerbated by population growth and is linked to a range of interrelated urban challenges, including limited education and employment opportunities for people in poor neighborhoods and low productivity in the city. Furthermore, unplanned and uncoordinated urban plans and policies contribute to the misallocation of municipal resources. The paper's insights into the complex nature of intra-urban inequality are i) Intra-urban inequality is a result of the mutual relationship between the city population and welfare, ii) Small cities' population growth exacerbates intra-urban inequality more than large cities, and cities in developing countries would face rising intra-urban inequality, and iii) Planning reform requires incremental steps over time and coordination of existing rules, regulations, and emerging challenges, rather than a one-time implementation.


From Pixels to Policy: Decoding urban morphology and policy influences

Hogeun Park1, Thomas Esch2, Daniela Palacios Lopez2, Nancy Lozano Gracia1, Olivia D'aoust1

1World Bank Group; 2German Aerospace Center (DLR)

While the significance of urban compacity and densification is paramount for sustainable urbanism, the nuanced interplay between urban development and planning policies remains underexplored. We investigated the dynamics between planning policies, regulations, and their impact on urban morphology. The central question guiding this study is the extent to which planning policies influence urban morphology and development patterns. We integrated urban planning, spatial analytics, and a unique dataset derived from satellite imagery to quantify urban morphology spatially. The study identifies specific mechanisms within planning policies, examining the role of zoning regulations, land-use policies, and density requirements on the spatial organization of cities. The results reveal distinctive signatures of urbanization, illustrating how cities navigate growth trajectories. By integrating innovative datasets with planning regulations, the research provides fresh insights into the relationship between urban morphology and regulatory environments, emphasizing the crucial role of effective planning policies in shaping sustainable, livable, and resilient cities.


New research avenues on urban expansion and land commodification in the Global South.

Berenice Bon1, Claire Simonneau2, Eric Denis3, Philippe Lavigne Delville4

1IRD - French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development, France; 2University Gustave Eiffel, Paris, France; 3CNRS - French National Centre for Scientific Research; 4IRD - French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development, France

This paper summarizes a report published by the Land Tenure Committee chaired by the French Development Agency and the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. We analyze land use changes linked to urbanization in the Global South. Land commodification has become a fundamental driving force of urban expansion and economic growth but much of the data do not capture the diverse processes at work. Land commodification is not the preserve of institutional actors or private investors with well-established resources. It concerns more modest forms of investment in micro-parcels of land involving actors with much lower capital endowments. Land is acquired not only for building something but becomes for all a reserve for protecting capital and a means of accessing money. These diverse processes of land commodification, hoarding without construction and financialization must be taken into account in current discussions on land use policies, planning and regulation.


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