Urbanization in Central Asia: Challenges, Issues and Prospects is an analytical report that was commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and undertaken by the Center for Economic Research (CER), Uzbekistan. With additional support from UNDP, CER conducted joint research with teams from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The analytical report served as a background document for the “International Workshop on Urbanization in Central Asia: Current State, Issues, Perspective” which was held from 9 to 10 October 2012 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Report was the first of its kind to review urban development trends in Central Asian countries from a sub-regional perspective. Under former Soviet rule, new cities and townships in Central Asia were created primarily to meet the needs of the common economic complex of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). A significant number of urban settlements were established as ‘mono-cities’ (or company towns). After political transition in 1991, many urban settlements in Central Asian countries faced decline in economic activity with subsequent impacts on local budget revenues, urban infrastructure, as well capacity challenges in managing urban development under newly introduced free-market mechanisms.
In response, in the period since 1991 Central Asian countries have implemented a range of strategies aimed at re-establishing municipal management systems and supporting social and economic development in urban areas. There have been both successes and failures, which the Report documents and assesses.
Central Asia has substantial future potential for economic growth. In managing these prospects urban policy will be a key component. Based on the outcomes of the Report and the subsequent workshop, recommendations and proposals were formulated to support policy makers improve urbanization policies in order to establish and maintain productive, sustainable, and inclusive cities, reflecting their emerging role as national and sub-regional growth poles.
To download the full report and access further materials from the International Workshop, please visit the following link.