Corporate Social Responsibility and Urban Development: by Edmundo Werna

By Edmundo Werna

[ company Social accountability and concrete improvement: classes from the South by way of Werna, Edmundo ( writer ) Hardcover 2009 ]

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In 1975 there were three mega-cities in the world, namely Tokyo, New York and Mexico City (WUP, 2005). In 2005 there were 20 such cities in the world. More importantly for our purpose 16 were located in the developing world (WUP, 2005). Cities and towns are pivotal for development. They are the engines of economic growth. , 2001): they serve as centres for finance and producer services; are areas of production of innovation; and are the powerhouses of manufacturing and consumer markets. Thus cities play a crucial role in the global, national and regional economies.

However, this problem can be overcome by breaking up large scale national utility services into smaller units that could compete with each other. 1 In sum, the 'neoliberal' pro-privatisation perspective in development argues that even if the private sector is not present or prominent in a given city or specific good/service, it should be encouraged and supported. And the direct participation of the government in provision is seen as unfair competition to the private sector, and should be discouraged.

Private sector solutions also occur when the public sector is incapable of meeting local demand. In other cases, the public sector hires the private sector to supply a certain service instead of providing it directly. In some cities the private sector has developed an important role in supplying a variety of basic services and infrastructure to lowincome communities. Batley (1996) for example notes that in several cities such as Recife (Brazil), Hermosillo (Mexico), Ahmedabad and Calcutta (India), Penang (Malaysia), the private sector has undertaken various forms of service provision.

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