Urban Expansion Strategy for intermediate cities in Ecuador



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Governmental bodies are usually keen to receive manuals and guides that would facilitate their planning activities, as tools, but still require long term policies and programmes that would remain in place even after the end of a Governmental term in office. It is most difficult to use on-going projects and ad-hoc tools to implement a non-explicit policy. When public servants are not permanent staff and can be fired at the end of every Governmental term, training is not useful since trained people fired by new authorities are not replaced by equally trained ones, thus requiring new training events, which is not sustainable. Scaling-up successful pilot initiatives require a national framework that is difficult to formulate during a non-stable political period, but the bases are there to be used; a ‘promoter’ to resume the activities should be pre-identified so that pending matters regarding the scaling-up are not totally forgotten by the new authorities.


Responding to the most current literature that describes a forceful demographic trend that anticipates a two-billion person increase in global population over the next 25 years, primarily in urban areas of the developing world, the proposed activities focus on preparing intermediate cities in Ecuador for sustainable urban expansion, with the aim of ensuring that access to residential land for the urban poor will be affordable in the years to come when the city limits expand to accommodate the growing population.
Through the use of studies focused on preparing the cities for the demographic and physical aspects of growth, as well as providing technical assistance tools that contribute to the social and economic sustainability of the planned expansion process, the project aims to provide five secondary municipalities with the instruments they will need in order to carry out sustainable, minimal, long-term planning for urban expansion.
Demographic and physical studies to ensure: (i) adequate land designated for urban use; (ii) basic arterial infrastructure is developed to serve this land; and  (iii) a regulatory framework is put in place to ensure ordered development of this land in line with municipal objectives. Technical Assistance: social and economic sustainability tools to focus on raising awareness and encouraging municipal policy-making around participatory budgeting and land administration processes.
Expected Impacts and Results
The main value added of this project is its far-reaching preventative vision, i.e. the application of demographic research projections with enough time in advance to target cities that will be experiencing the greatest expansion and therefore taking action to build up the cities’ supply of serviced land in order to meet the needs of the population as it grows. The land will stay accessible to the low-income population as it grows in order to prevent the formation of slums in the first place, and therefore avoid the costly mission of having to upgrade unplanned, unserviced, informal settlements ex post.