The Systems of Secondary Cities – Neglected Drivers of Urbanizing Economies | Wilson Center
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The Systems of Secondary Cities – Neglected Drivers of Urbanizing Economies

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Secondary Cities are becoming increasingly interlinked and dependent upon each other to boost trade, investment, and local economic development.  As a result of these changes, a new order or system of cities is emerging.  While much of the attention in international development and academia focuses on the role of mega and primary cities in shaping the new economic geography of development, secondary cities will have a greater influence upon the economic development of nations in the urban millennium.

As gateways between rural and metropolitan areas, secondary cities are growing rapidly worldwide but are struggling to attract investment needed to build infrastructure and vibrant communities.  Some have very high rates of informal sector employment and large slum areas. Panelists will discuss strategies for national and local governments to generate inclusive growth and improve livelihoods in secondary cities.   


  • Brian Roberts

    Emeritus Professor, University of Canberra, and author, Managing Systems of Secondary Cities
  • William Cobbett

    Manager, Cities Alliance
  • Martin Soulier

    Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESCI), Inter-American Development Bank
  • Melinda Laituri

    Humanitarian Information Unit, Office of the Geographer, INR, U.S. Department of State; Professor of Geography, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University
  • Somik Lall

    Lead Urban Economist, World Bank