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Cities and Urbanisation

How cities can meet the changing needs of evolving citizens

Creating cities of opportunity

PwC works alongside local and national governments, and often with the support or collaboration of a range of development partners around the world, to help address the challenges of rapid urbanisation.

Operating across PwC’s global network, our multidisciplinary Cities & Urbanisation team have worked at the leading edge of these issues in over 20 countries and are now able to bring PwC’s full range of professional service capabilities to make every city a City of Opportunity.

City problems

Urbanisation Challenges

Migration to major cities in Nigeria happen on a daily basis, with about 123,000 people who migrate to populous cities like Lagos. These Cities, in turn, are growing to accommodate the influx of new people. Most of these migrants are young, vibrant, and the mainstay of the workforce.

Rapid urbanistion creates a myriad of issues, where the growing population pace supersedes the infrastructure growth. Opportunities are not readily available to the majority of citizens. This raises pertinent questions of sustainability.

As cities evolve, the need to provide the capacity to contain the citizens is paramount.



Megatrend Dilemmas

Decades from now, emerging economies will benefit from imminent demographic shifts. The majority of the global youth population will be residents of these urbanized regions. Developing the right policy now is required to harness the potential of this restructuring population.

Scientific predictions show that with the impact of climate change, the planet is currently unable to support the existing models of production and consumption. Demand for essential goods and services such as food, energy and water will rise with a proportional increase in the global population. This poses a problem as natural resources remain finite and rationing methods will become key concerns on political agendas.


Legacy Problems

Many cities suffer from the way they have grown. This is due in part to the complex nature of solving problems like housing  transport and safety. Departments which have specialised to solve such problems often become siloed and duplicate shared functions. Cities struggle to compete with the private sector for talent, leading to a lack of capacity in areas such as finance, digital and data analytics. This is made worse by budget cuts at the national level, which often hit local government the hardest. Cities too often write lengthy, well-meaning strategies, but fail to back this up with systems, data and routines that measure their success. And politics, personalities and power can derail the best made plans, preventing long term planning.


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Future Cities

PwC’s Future Cities model asks how cities can meet the needs of changing citizens in an evolving world. We consider the outcomes that make a successful city of the future, and the strategies and capabilities cities must adopt to achieve these.

These include areas, both traditional and modern, that should be high on all cities’ agendas. Although some of these may gain more press coverage, we do not view any one area as more important than another. Every city has its own problems, culture, capacity and politics and these determine what will work best.

Our focus is primarily to help city governments succeed, but there are few urban problems that can be solved without the involvement of local businesses, charities, communities, academics - and you and me.

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City capabilities - Enabling how cities work

Cities are built around departments for good reason – they house specialist skills and institutional knowledge. But there are some functions which cross many departments and which also require specialist skills. We recognise seven areas which have potential to be transformative if cities get them right: Powers & Incentives, Urban intelligence, Digital city, Data-led delivery, Infrastructure & Transport, Urban Finance and People & Culture.

These functions will exist to some degree in all cities, even if they are called different things, but they typically fit into the existing department system. Digital will fall under traditional IT. Separate asset registers may exist for water and electricity, and revenues will be collected by different contractors. Innovation rarely exists outside of HR and by-laws remains unchanged for decades at a time.

In our view, investment in these seven cross-city capabilities would create teams to focus on these areas, with the potential to make departments able to deliver much more effectively.

See each of the seven capabilities in more detail by clicking the button below.

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City outcomes - Understanding city success

Personalised Services

Treat citizens like customers

Citizens have diverse and complex needs which vary with their life stage and circumstances. In the long run, cities must distribute resources in a way that considers the whole needs of current and future citizens.


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Sustainability and Resilience

Plan for the worst

Traditional asset management and disaster planning has given way in recent years to resilience and in an environmental context.

Sustainability ensures that when things go wrong, services can be maintained, people and assets protected, and resources preserved. Contingency planning and up to date, independent risk surveys, or greenhouse gas and pollution controls that go beyond national limits


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Growth and livability

Plan for the best

Build a city where people can live happy, healthy, productive lives, from cradle to grave.

Investing in education, skills and safe, cohesive communities; making the city a desirable place to invest, do business and trade with; helping people get around easily and ensuring equality of opportunity.


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Citizen strategies - Changing how cities think


Many organisations we work with struggle to understand and engage their customers. Cities are no different, except that they have less incentive to do so - citizens cannot cancel their subscription. But the gains to be made are just as real. Active citizen centricity - such as personalised services and billing - requires engagement and data. Passive citizen centricity, including online ‘self-service’ applications, is a good place to start. In the longer term, balancing citizen goals is difficult - as highlighted by our seven citizen lenses.

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Transversal management

Historically, cities have grown in specialised siloes motivated by departmental goals, not citizen outcomes. Moving towards ‘outcome-based government’ can be done in different ways. In some cases, permanent cross departmental units and business partners can help. Where outcomes are strongly linked - in transport and housing, or health and social care - there may be an argument for merging them.


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From national road laws, to college course content, to interest rates, cities do not control most of what happens within their borders - yet they probably have more power than anyone else, and are most likely to be held responsible by voters. Cities must align their planning and build their relationships between other levels of government and the private sector, which are often dysfunctional.


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Municipal Performance Index

PwC’s Municipal Performance Index (MPI) is a detailed benchmarking tool by PwC that measures performance in three major areas: socioeconomic, service delivery, and governance. These major categories are broken down into policy performances which are specific to the various areas and using certain KPI’s to measure the varied policy performances, which contains information across all 36 states in Nigeria.

There is a huge amount of data available in the public sector, but it is inconsistent, untimely and released by different sources. In order to improve municipal performance, you need to be able to meaningfully compare municipalities to identify where limited resources should be targeted.

Our MPI asserts that good government at any level means achieving three things: socioeconomic outcomes, service delivery, and municipal governance.

These are split down further into 23 categories, and over 1,000 individual indicators; Socioeconomic success is measured in areas such as health, education and safety; Service delivery includes water, electricity and transport; Governance involves financial health, audit findings and diverse staff.


Why work with us

PwC works alongside local and national governments, and often with the support or collaboration of a range of development partners around the world, to help address the challenges of rapid urbanisation. Operating across PwC’s global network, our multidisciplinary Cities & Urbanisation team have worked at the leading edge of these issues in over 20 countries and are now able to bring PwC’s full range of professional service capabilities to make every city a City of Opportunity.


“There is no ‘right’ way to run a city, but all cities can be run better. At PwC we work with city governments to navigate a changing world and changing citizens, helping them to become ‘Future Cities’ for the people who live, work and play there”

Olumide Adeosun, City and Urbanisation Leader, PwC Nigeria

Contact us

Cyril Azobu

Cyril Azobu

Partner & Advisory Leader, PwC Nigeria

Tel: +234 1 271 1700

Vish Ashiagbor

Vish Ashiagbor

Country Senior Partner, PwC Ghana

Tel: +233 (0) 302 761500

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