Urban land, infrastructure and competitiveness in the global South
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This chapter argues that what we term the urban land and infrastructure system (ULIS) is a cornerstone of regional prosperity and far too important to be neglected. Urban land is a crucial resource for economic development and improved human welfare. A well-organized ULIS enables a cumulative process of value creation, employment generation, revenue raising and reinvestment in future asset creation. Well-conceived physical structures also enhance cities' resilience to external shocks (such as flooding from storms or spikes in energy prices) and their adaptability to shifting circumstances (such as water scarcity caused by climate change, or a population whose size, income or lifestyle preferences is changing). The configuration of the ULIS therefore underpins the long-term
viability and sustainability of regional economies. It makes a continuing contribution to the efficiency of city-regions
by determining the ease of circulation of people, goods and information, both internally and externally to other regions that are sources of trade or investment. A concentrated and compact built form means density and proximity between workers and firms, hence lower travel and transaction costs A well-connected city intensifies human and business interactions, which in turn promote creativity and innovation. Hence, a functional and adaptable ULIS amplifies and reinforces the other, softer drivers of competitiveness.