Job creation has rarely been at the forefront of current debates about urbanization. Urban policy makers and municipalities have over the years been preoccupied by a host of challenges which make up the conventional wisdom on urbanism and relate to demographics, poverty, environment, sanitation and infrastructure. This global approach to urban issues could be characterized as if urban analysts and practitioners “have entered the city through the house and the bathroom”, i.e. through housing and residential infrastructure, rather than through the place of work and the market. This entry point fails to address the important role of cities in national development, reduction of poverty and inequality, and the multiple impacts which employment can have on urban areas. While job creation is typically not seen to be falling within the mandate of urban authorities, cities nevertheless are the first to bear the social and economic costs of unemployment and underemployment.
The focus of this eDebate therefore is: What can cities do to create decent jobs. It is hoped that the outcome will not only guide discussion on Productive Cities: Urban Job Creation during the Sixth World Urban Forum in September but also support cities in their efforts to respond to the global employment challenge.
Participants in the eDebate will be encouraged to share their ideas and proposals for policies and programmes which urban authorities can implement for creating decent jobs. The whole gamut of job creation strategies, including self-employment, micro-credit and entrepreneurship development, local economic development, skills development, the informal economy, the regulatory environment, infrastructure development and slum upgrading schemes, will be put under an urban lens.
The eDebate will furthermore explore the linkages between job creation and economic policies and urban infrastructure investments. While cities are recognized to be engines of economic growth, contributing disproportionately to national income, how effective has economic growth been in creating jobs, particularly in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis which began sweeping the globe in 2007?
Some of the linkages to be explored include:
- Do regulations kill jobs or create them? Are they the cause of or solution to informality?
- How can cities assess the employment impacts of economic policies and ensure that productivity gains are translated into job creation rather than into more unemployment?
- What economic sectors have the greatest potential for creating decent jobs in cities?
- How can cities better assess and harness infrastructure investments for job creation?
- What are the linkages between slum upgrading and job creation?