Urban development

Helping governments, municipal authorities, and international financing institutions meet the challenges of an increasingly urbanised world.

Over half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Cities in the developing world are growing at an unprecedented rate. Rapid, poorly planned and poorly constructed urban growth leads to a host of problems and challenges.

The concentration of populations and investment does, however, does create opportunities for sustainable development that help to solve challenges. For governments and major international financial institutions, urban development intervention can be very cost-effective, replicable and reach many beneficiaries.

We see urban development as a set of complex interrelated social, environmental, economic and political processes. These processes need to be understood. They often require improved institutional structures and new financial arrangements to ensure that assets are maintained and benefits are sustainable. To satisfy these requirements, we work in a wide range of urban development sectors and at all stages of the project cycle.

IMC’s experience ranges from initial project identification studies to ex-post evaluation. We have evaluated a variety of urban funds and facilities; some single-donor some multi-donor, including the Slum Upgrading Facility and the Community-Led Infrastructure Finance Facility.

As managers of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Technology, Infrastructure and Urban Planning Resource Centre (TI-UP), IMC assisted in the development of urban infrastructure policy and providing guidance to advisers on projects around the world.

IMC is increasingly involved in urban development from a green energy, disaster risk management and low carbon growth perspective. We have used some of these principles in our projects in urban transport which are fundamental to effective growth in larger urban areas. Creating a virtuous circle of continuous improvements in urban development, combining efficient urban services with strong citizen involvement and clear land use principles.


  • Land use planning strategies and development control
  • Low carbon development
  • Urban resilience to disaster
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Urban transport planning
  • Planning and implementing urban infrastructure services
  • Private sector engagement in financing urban services


Recent projects

Urban Transport Planning and Management, Nepal (2012-14)

Client: ADB

Cities in the terai of eastern Nepal have developed in a haphazard manner, resulting in environmental degradation, poor transport management and land use. Biratnagar Submetropolitan City (BSC), located in the terai, has been designated as a regional economic centre, a model for future city development. IMC is preparing a comprehensive urban transport and land use strategy for BSC that addresses the requirements of different urban transport users with regard to affordability, accessibility, safety and sustainability. We are consulting stakeholders, carrying out surveys and transport demand modelling in order to identify necessary interventions.

Operational Guide for Mainstreaming Disaster Resilience into Urban Investment Projects (2011)

Client: World Bank

In East Asia, cities absorb two million new urban residents every month and are projected to triple their built-up areas in the coming two decades. Many cities are prone to multiple hazards (including climate change-induced extreme weather events), putting their populations, assets, economies and environment at risk of heavy loss. IMC was commissioned to produce an operational guide to mainstream disaster resilience into urban investment projects. The guide draws on current risk assessment, disaster management and climate change adaptation thinking.

Developing Secondary Cities with Green Growth Opportunities, Rwanda (2014-15)

Client: Global Green Growth Initiative

IMC is working with GGGI in support of the Government’s efforts to rapidly expand the country’s secondary cities as growth poles. We are working to produce national guidelines and a roadmap, setting out how green urbanisation principles and green technologies can be incorporated into economic development plans. The work covers six cities across the country, with the initial tasks including an assessment of readiness and outline viability assessments of options.

TI-UP (Technology, Infrastructure, Urban Planning) Resource Centre (2006-12)

Client: DFID

The Ti-UP Resource Centre was established by DFID in 2006 to provide knowledge, advice and technical services in the combined fields of transport and communications, infrastructure and urban planning to DFID advisers and partners. Managed by IMC, it comprised two complementary services, a helpdesk which provided up to two days of pre-paid specialist advice and a framework agreement for consultancy services that required fast track procurement procedures.

Design of the Bihar Strengthening Urban Management Programme, India (2010-14)

Client: DFID

IMC was commissioned to design and implement this programme to increase the rate of urban poverty reduction by 2014. The goal of the programme is to improve the capacities of municipal bodies to manage urban areas, attract investment, and provide better services—on a sustainable basis—to all urban citizens, particularly the poor. The programme design also needed to identify key indicators by which to measure commitment to reform and expected progress.