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Private sector is key to urban regeneration, report says

The private sector played a critical role in regenerating the Puerto Madero waterfront area of Buenos Aires, a World Bank report says. (Henrik Dolle/

The private sector plays a critical role in reviving decaying urban neighborhoods, according to a new report from the World Bank and the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility.

The report, released during the recent World Cities Summit in Singapore, emphasizes that urban renewal rarely succeeds when spearheaded only by the public sector.

The 423-page report, Regenerating Urban Land, a Practicioner’s Guide to Leveraging Private Investment, spotlights restoration efforts in eight cities around the globe. Buenos Aires tapped the private sector to develop a neglected historic waterfront district. Ahmedabad resettled slum dwellers and spruced up a riverbank by creating a development corporation to reclaim land. Johannesburg, Santiago, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, and Washington D. C. also are profiled.

“Urban regeneration projects are by nature complex and hard to finance,” the report says, emphasizing that the private sector can help bridge any funding gap. Businesses and investors sometimes view urban renewal projects as too risky. To secure their involvement, cities are encouraged to offer incentives — such as tax breaks and streamlined regulations — and keep plans flexible. 

World Bank

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