Urbanization Review: Developing the Analytical Tool and Implementing a Pilot in Vietnam



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
• Engaging Stakeholders: Engaging a wide range of stakeholders enhances the importance of policy dialogue on urban issues. The urbanization review was able to engage stakeholders beyond traditional cities and ministries, particularly, Ministry of Planning, Finance, Environment as well as private sector. This resulted in high-level interest in the work. The analytical work benefitted from participation of diverse stakeholders. • Data Collection: Prior to undertaking an analytical exercise like this, it will be important to identify upfront data collection needs and data limitations. These vary from country to country and so does the quality of that data. Relying on easily available sources of data will reduce costs. • No One Size Fits All: While having prototype is important, it will be important to understand that not all Urbanization Reviews will be the same. The global knowledge product should work to establish a central framework that is common to all urbanization reviews, such as the chapter on Urban Evolution, but the rest should be specific to each country. The specific set of urban issues most requiring analysis will differ from country to country. • Dissemination is Key: A dissemination strategy is the key for both country-specific Urbanization Reviews and for the global knowledge product. While the final document or summary documents are important, it is important to be able to extract main messages from the Urbanization Review that can be quickly read and disseminated. A series of 4-6 page e-notes were derived from the larger Urbanization Review for Vietnam that can easily be shared with a wide audience in Vietnamese and English. A well-planned dissemination and media strategy ensured a broad audience for the work. • Partnerships: The WB has worked with AFD (French) and JICA (Japan) in preparing the studies. JICA funded work on household surveys in Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang and AFD funded work on local government finance have been instrumental in undertaking the analytical work.


The Vietnam National Urbanization Review (VNUR) is strategic and analytical work that aims to support the Government of Vietnam in realising its socio-economic development objectives through urbanisation. It pilots an approach which is being developed to become a new flagship World Bank Knowledge Product—to support rapidly urbanising developing countries in analysing and understanding their urban transformation and to assist in developing appropriate urban strategies and policy responses. The Urbanization Review uses quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify the key binding constraints to sustained urban development, and to provide an overarching frame of reference to highlight priority areas coupled with policy advice and identification of areas requiring further in-depth data gathering and policy analysis.
The long-term development objective is to facilitate the benefits of urbanisation for economic development, while taking measures to avoid the informality and slum formation so often prevalent in rapidly urbanising countries that are unprepared. The Urbanization Review would provide the analytical underpinnings for national and local governments to formulate strategic and cohesive urban policies. It should also provide guidance on investment prioritisation.
Output 1: Piloting the Urbanization Review in Vietnam i) Preparation of Background Notes, based on Key Data; ii) Compilation into a cohesive Vietnam National Urbanization Review; iii) Convene Vietnam’s Urban Forum Output 2: Contribution to the Urbanization Review Knowledge Product i) Development of a Data List for subsequent Urbanization Reviews; ii) Preparation of a Framework for National Urban Comparisons and Benchmarking; iii) Provision of a real-world Urbanization Review. Output 3: Dissemination of Results and Promotion of Urbanization Review Tool i) Workshops and Learning Exchanges; ii) Regional Workshops; iii) Cross-country and cross-regional assistance for the first batch of Urbanization Reviews.
Expected Impacts and Results
The Vietnam Urbanization Review was successfully piloted in Vietnam, setting a new standard for urban sector work and serving as a prototype for other countries. It was well received by the Government and practitioners in Vietnam. It is considered as a good example of analytical work in urban sector and an important reference document in Vietnam by many stakeholders for years to come. It has served as the basis for further analytical and technical assistance work in Vietnam, including with Ho Chi Minh City and Ministry of Finance. As a pilot, it has served to inform the analytical methods, being replicated in other countries such as India, Colombia and Turkey. The results have been widely disseminated, utilizing a well-targeted approach including technical workshops, media launches, video interviews, press interviews and short technical notes.