Urban Planning in the Post-Growth Era: Insights from World Bank Indicators



Urban Planning, Post-Growth Era, Economic Growth Model, World Bank Indicators, Sustainable Development




In an era where the urgency of transitioning to a climate-resilient development model is highlighted by the current IPCC report, this paper addresses the complex relationship between urban planning, economic growth, and sustainability. Despite significant attention in contemporary policy discourse, particularly in using large-scale data for strategic urban planning, there remains a theoretical gap in understanding the interplay between economic growth, climate change, social justice, and economic sustainability. This gap has led to misconceptions in policy-making and urban planning strategies.

To bridge this gap, this study presents a novel economic growth model, based on an extensive analysis of 921 indicators from the World Bank database. Utilizing advanced statistical techniques, we unravel the complex influences these indicators have on economic growth. Our analysis identifies two primary categories of growth drivers: ‘Economic Pattern Dynamic’, with a 37.8% influence, and ‘Developmental Environmental Dynamics’, consisting of eight dynamics and contributing 63.2% influence.

The role of urban planning is critical in harnessing these dynamics to adjust and optimize the way economies grow. This paper proposes a model for urban planning’s role, divided into two directions. The first addresses ‘Economic Pattern Dynamic’, driven by inputs such as material, informational, and energy capitals. The evolution of this dynamic suggests a diminishing role for information capital in the same economic model over time. Only through technological innovation can economic development patterns shift, leading to sustainable economic growth. The second direction optimizes the eight developmental environmental dynamics through urban planning, impacting economic development in two modes: as cost factors and as efficiency enhancers. These evolve in two distinct ways with economic growth, either increasing or decreasing in influence.

Recognizing urban planning's catalytic role, we develop an empirical framework quantifying the relative weights of these drivers and outlining intervention strategies. This framework offers urban planners actionable insights, linking economic indicators to urban policies. The model integrates these influences into a coherent structure for predictive analytics and evidence-based planning, providing different urban planning strategies for various stages of economic development and exploring the significance of adapting to economic evolution.

The empirical model proposes tailored urban planning strategies for different economic development stages, discussing the implications of applying the model in dynamically evolving economic contexts. To establish a robust connection between theoretical constructs and their practical utility, our research meticulously documents the process of transforming data insights into actionable plans. Armed with this economic growth model, urban planners can precisely anticipate the economic impact of their decisions and tailor their initiatives to create environments conducive to prosperity.

This paper concludes by underscoring the transformative potential of data-informed urban planning in reshaping urban economies. It advocates for an integrative approach that blends rigorous data analysis with visionary planning, aiming for a sustainable and inclusive growth. The policy implications of our findings suggest a recalibration of urban planning paradigms, steering them towards not only quantitative growth but also qualitative improvements in living standards, and emphasizing urban planning's strategic leverage in scripting the economic fortunes of cities for balanced and resilient development.