State of Cities 2014: Governance for a Liveable Chittagong


05 August 2014

State of Cities 2014: Governance for a Liveable Chittagong

State of Cities: Governance for a Liveable Chittagong is the third report of the State of Cities series published by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University (formerly Institute of Governance Studies). Given the growing challenges that Chittagong City faces with regard to its service delivery, transport provisions, environmental challenges, devolution of power, fiscal problems, inter alia, there is a need for extensive analysis on cross-cutting issues involving urban governance. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the economic and political dynamics which shape various facets of urban governance in Chittagong, and aims to provide solutions in addressing the mounting problems that the policymakers face as far as urban governance is concerned. The study adopted a mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative approaches using primary and secondary data. To conduct the study, a structured questionnaire survey was carried out among 1,200 households of Chittagong City. Moreover, four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and over 50 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted to support the research.

Drawing from the individual chapters, the report analysed a number of cross-cutting governance issues that have far reaching consequences with regard to the city's agglomeration and liveability. The final chapter suggests that there is a need for co-ordination among service delivery and regulatory agencies, streamlining of dualism in service delivery and social inclusion of low income groups, imperatives of need-based development and implementation of urban plans, importance of greater role of citizens and civil society organisations, and imperatives of practicing horizontally accountable devolved governance model.

Being third of its kind, the report has demonstrated that Chittagong's physical infrastructure and service provisions are ill-equipped to foster agglomeration, ultimately affecting its liveability adversely. This is partly, if not largely, an outcome of the ‘urban primacy’ of Dhaka that is difficult to break, if the experiences of other developing countries are any guide, as discussed in the report. The report provides a set of recommendations pertaining to the city's administrative and financial devolution by making the CCC a single point authority ensuring ultimate accountability to the city dwellers. Moreover, the literature on urbanisation in relation to developing countries and experience of other cities show that cities have to be innovative and learn from success stories of developing and developed countries by initiating financial reforms to become financially independent. This could help cities to reduce their dependency on the centre. The empowered local authorities could help rationalisation of utility prices and mobilisation of revenue to meet Chittagong city's short-term and long-term needs.

SoC: Governance for a liveable Chittagong (Full Report)