Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Urban Basic Utilities Management under Fragmented Governance: An Oratory on Its Contribution in Cities of Developing World

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Urban Basic Utilities Management under Fragmented Governance: An Oratory on Its Contribution in Cities of Developing World

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Last several decades' trend of urban transformation across developing world--expedited by globalization driven economic reform and reorganization--has reiterated the indispensability of urban basic utilities for spatial growth (Moinuddin, 2012; ADB, 2007; Goodman, 2006; Rahman, 2005; World Bank, 2003; Dillinger, 1994; World Bank, 1993). Precisely, the efforts for economic progress resulted with built space expansion and improved peoples living conditions that--in a cyclical order--have proliferated the "demand for urban basic utilities for further growth" (Chong, 2003; p.19). This increased demand compelled city authorities or governments to amplify resources allocation for delivering the stakeholders with effective and responsive services that eventually determines governance quality and efficiency (ADB, 2007; Goodman, 2006).

Unlike the developed world, urban basic utilities such as electricity, telecommunications, roads, water supply--along with supportive economic and financial policies--have long been recognized as key element for enabling opulence in the developing countries as well (Garmendia et al, 2004). Human development targets rely on services that require supportive infrastructure--safe water and hygienic sanitation to prevent a number of infectious diseases, electricity to serve schools and health clinics, roads to access these (Garmendia, et al, 2004). More recently, growth experts have also stressed that with the provisioning of dependable and reasonably priced basic utilities, urban poverty can be reduced substantially which in turn could render considerable amount of support in the efforts of attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Calderon and Serven, 2004). However, the key constraints are the quantity and quality issues of delivered urban basic utilities (Friedmann, 1995). According to United Nations (2004), at least 175 million urbanites in the developing nations worldwide do not have a source of potable water near their homes. In many cases, the supplied water there is of sub-standard quality and 305 million urbanites lack access to basic sanitation (United Nations, 2004). It is estimated that approximately 14.6 million people in Dhaka city are experiencing electricity outage for several hours on daily basis for the last half-decade (Moinuddin, 2010). These fact aligns with Cohen (2004) and Dillinger (1994)'s contention--cities in the developing world have not been able to guarantee better quality of life to the extent that was expected since eminence of urban basic utilities remains questionable. The implications of such service constraints--in economic and distributional terms--are quite wide spared. About the economic implications, Kesside's (1993) pointed out that "a lack of access to, or unreliability of, infrastructure services can have adverse effects on growth, forcing firms to seek costly alternatives, which may in turn have unfavorable impacts on profits and levels of production and consequently, on investment and job growth" (p. 13). Ugaz and Waddams (2008), in their study on all categories of manufacturing establishments across Senegal found that substitute costs for public infrastructure services (induced by the failure of electricity, fixed line telephones, better roads network) accounts for 18 percent of the total establishment cost on average. Service failures hamper the uniform distribution of economic benefits of urbanization. In the developing nations--with the rising urbanization--gap or inequality in the basic services delivery is also widening between higher and lower income groups. And, referring to Rondinelli's (1997) research findings, Leipziger (et al, 2003) pointed out that when urbanites fail to reach to the formal system of services delivery, they resort to low quality but costly alternatives. For instance, a survey on water vending in cities of 16 developing countries across Asia and Latin America found that in the absence of piped supply, households are forced to purchase water from vendors or to resort to additional options that costs--on average--1. …

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