MetroHUB A UN-Habitat initiative for metropolitan Development

Metropolitan areas are a system of spatially and functionally interlinked local and regional government jurisdictions comprising one or more cities and the surrounding peri-urban, rural and agricultural areas. They are different from cities in scale, number of actors, political levels and jurisdictions involved and they have continuous and discontinuous infrastructure and services; Metropolitan areas often generate a large proportion of the country’s GDP. For all those reasons, support on metropolitan development needs special tools and mechanisms for sustainable development.

The UN-Habitat MetroHUB initiative - supporting metropolitan areas for sustainable development

By adopting the New Urban Agenda, Member States have committed to “…support strengthening the capacity of subnational and local governments to implement effective local and metropolitan multilevel governance, across administrative borders, and based on functional territories, ensuring the involvement of subnational and local governments in decision-making, working to provide them with the necessary authority and resources to manage critical urban, metropolitan and territorial concerns.“ (Quito, Ecuador, para 90.)

In the light of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and building on the previous work, UN-Habitat is currently developing an integrated approach for metropolitan development, by proposing a suite of methodologies to enhance the capacities of key players on how to address metropolitan areas as well as systems of fast growing medium and smaller cities which transform into metropolitan areas.

In accordance with the three pronged approach, the MetroHUB initiative combines planning, governance and finance components with socio-ecologic aspects, capacity development and acupuncture projects in the specific local context of a metropolitan area. Aiming for a sustainable development, the MetroHUB initiative also includes this broad spectrum of components while being participatory, inclusive and people orientated.

The MetroHUB initiative is a complex system which allows tailor made solutions for the specific local contexts.

MetroHUB embraces the following aspects of sustainable metropolitan development and management such as:

• Metropolitan planning

• Metropolitan governance

• Metropolitan finance

• Socio-ecologic Development

• Capacity development

• Acupuncture projects

The MetroHUB initiative is customized for metropolitan areas and systems of cities with more than two municipalities that face common overarching challenges that can best be dealt with in a concerted metropolitan manner in order to provide efficient services and to ensure effective management.

Specific objectives of the MetroHUB initiative are:

1- Developing and sharing information as well as enhancing capacity development and learning (including peer-to-peer and learning exchange; exchange visit, bench-marking, and metropolitan profiling).

2- Establishing a strong partnership with relevant networks and creation of a platform to link various networks.

3- Developing and gathering practical tools and cases studies (best practices), from interested partners, with special reference to governance, planning and finance aspects.

4- Building up a dialogue among the diverse actors such as professionals/civil servants of relevant sectors and of different authorities, academia, civil society and private sector firms of a metropolis or system of cities and municipalities by taking into account (metropolitan) governance, planning and finance aspects.

5- Promoting a shared vision and consensus on crucial projects for the metropolitan development to be developed and implemented to nurture consensual financing decisions among key actors;

6- Fostering vertical and horizontal collaboration among institutions and all relevant stakeholders to improve metropolitan development and institutional dialogue and ensure a participatory approach for decision making by including civil society and especially vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and disabled persons.

Have a look at our Catalogue of Services in order to get an idea of the different elements that UN-Habitat and our partners can offer to you. All our services will be tailored to your needs and the local context.
Overview: MetroHUB Catalogue of services

Metropolitan Areas face challenges, but they provide huge opportunities for economic and social development. 

Common challenges for metropolitan areas in developing countries are congestion, pollution, provision of basic services and waste management.

In order to manage metropolitan areas, horizontal and vertical coherence is a must. Key players need to jointly work on common projects and "think out of the box". The MetroHUB offers tools to learn from peers and join forces - bringing people together and building up capacity.

UN-Habitat supports metropolitan areas and systems of cities that face similar challenges with long-term guidance - ranging from sharing knowledge on good practices, assessment of metropolitan areas and profiling, capacity development in various areas of expertise to concrete planning studios on projects and development of context focused toolkits and guidelines.

The UN-Habitat MetroHUB approach to sustainable development is highly participatory. Gender, Youth, Human Rights and climate change aspects are an integral part of our concept.

For additional information, please contact us:

UN-Habitat, Urban Planning and Design Branch, Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit (RMPU)


Publications on the areas of expertise of the Unit can be found under at



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