Steven Gale and Teresa Leonardo and Mariko Sato and Joseph D’Cruz
Journal of Futures Studies
Much has been written about rapid urbanization in Asia by scholars, academics, and theorists, alongside volumes about how Asian cities are handling this unprecedented population surge. The majority of Asia’s population, close to 2 billion, are now urban dwellers. But what is on the mind of local urban planners, mayors, and provincial leaders who must manage this challenge daily? To earn more about their realities, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with UN-Habitat, UNDP and UNGlobal Pulse to hold a two-day practitioner’s workshop in Bangkok in late 2014. Local Asian experts voiced concerns about challenges in institutional capacity, governance, accountability, and local decision-making, but at the same time saw that tools like futures analysis, visualization, private-sector financing schemes, mobile devices, and data analytics hold great promise to build more resilient and sustainable cities. Effective technological solutions, quickly adopted and applied, can help Asian cities thrive.