Fonds - Records of the Urban Development Sector

Urban Assistance Conference Papers - Mexico

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Reference code



Records of the Urban Development Sector


  • 1972 - 1987 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

17.51 linear feet of textual records

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Functional responsibility for urban development activities was first articulated in the World Bank's organizational structure after the November 1, 1968, reorganization of Bank departments and the creation of the Special Projects Department (SPP). The Special Projects Department began operations in October of 1969 and was responsible for inter-sectoral, multi-purpose and very large projects. The Urbanization and Regional Projects Department (SPPRB) was one of the three Departmental divisions.

The three departments of the Special Projects Department were responsible for:

  • identifying, appraising and supervising projects;

  • carrying out research and monitoring developments in its sectors;

  • providing advice to the area departments; and

  • cooperating with other international agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on programs of common interest.

The Special Projects Department was terminated as part of a Bank-wide reorganization in October, 1972. In order to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sector skills, sectors with a sufficient number of experts and an established lending program were largely decentralized; while maintaining a centralized core staff of Department advisors, the majority of staff were dispersed to regional project departments in newly established regional vice presidencies. The remaining centralized staff made up the sector operating departments and performed advisory services for the regions. Because of its small number of staff, the urban sector of the former Special Projects Department remained centralized within the newly formed Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP), and was given the name Urban Projects Department (UBP). As a centralized operating projects department (COPD), the Department provided a full operational package of technical services to the regions and was responsible not only for policy formulation and quality control, but also for the planning, direction and supervision of project and economic sector work. On the date of its establishment, the Urban Projects Department comprised two departments: Operations Division I (UBPD1) and Operations Division II (UBPD2).

On October 1, 1973, the Urban Projects Department was merged with the Transportation Department (TRP) to form the Transportation and Urban Projects Department (TRU). The Department continued to report to the Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP). However, transportation projects continued to function as a sector department, performing only advisory services for the regionsat their request and also formulating policies and quality control. The Department's urban project functionality continued to act as a centralized operating projects department. The Department maintained two Urban-related divisions - Urban Projects I (TRUD1) and Urban Projects II (TRUD2) - along with a Transport Research Division (TRURS). On February 1, 1976, a third urban-related operational division, Urban Projects III (TRUD3), was established in anticipation of an expanded role for the Department.

On June 1, 1976, staff working on urban projects were separated from those working on transportation projects and re-established as an independent Urban Projects Department (URB). It remained a centralized operating projects department and, as such, it continued to be responsible not only for policy formulation and quality control, but also for the planning, direction and supervision of project and economic sector work. This organizational restructuring was undertaken as part of the implementation of the Bank'snew Urban Poverty Program. The Program, announced in President McNamara's 1975 speech to the Board of Governors, was an interdepartmental Task Group chaired by Urban Projects Department director Mr. E.V.K. Jaycox and was designed to develop an Urban Poverty Action Program. Its oversight led to a significant increase in Department workload, as it became responsible for coordinating input of all organizational units involved in the Program as well as designing new policies, methods and projects to alleviate urban poverty.

At the date of its re-establishment in 1976, the Urban Projects Department was composed of the following divisions: Urban Division I (URBD1), Urban Division II (URBD2), Urban Division III (URBD3), the Sites and Services Monitoring Unit (URBMO), and the Operations Review and Support Unit (URBOR). The latter was responsible for supervising the Urban Poverty Program. By October of 1978, it was determined that the Department's policies, methods and standards were sufficiently mature to permit regionalization. Consequently, a significant amount of organizational restructuring took place during the following year in preparation for regionalization. On January 1, 1979, realignment of the Department's three operational divisions took place. Division I was assigned responsibility for Latin America, while Division II was assigned responsibility for Europe, Middle East, and North America as well as South Asia and Division III was given responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific. On or around this time a fourth operational division, Urban Division IV (URBD4), was created and given responsibility for Eastern and Western Africa. Also, on July 1, 1979, a new Tourism Advisory Service (URBTO) was established in the Urban Department, taking on some of the functions of the terminated Tourism Projects Department (TOU).

Regionalization of Urban Projects Department divisions began in July of 1979 when Division I of the Urban Projects Department was moved to the Latin America and Caribbean Region (LAC). In July of 1980, Division III was transferred to the East Asia and Pacific Region (AEN). At the same time, the Europe, Middle East, and North America responsibilities were separated from South Asia within Division II in preparation for the divisions' transfer to regional departments. Transfer of these two sections of Division II occurred on January 1, 1981. In March of the same year Division IV was split to form independent divisions for Eastern Africa and Western Africa in preparation for their regionalization. Transfer to regional departments occurred in August 1, 1981, for Eastern Africa Region (EAN) and October 1, 1981, for Western Africa Region (EAN). This concluded the regionalization of the Urban Projects Department.

In mid-1981, the Tourism Advisory Service (URBTO) was terminated. Some of its functions were transferred to the Tourism Advisor in the Front Office of the Urban Department (URBDR). In February of 1982, after the transformation of the Central Projects Staff (CPS) into the Operations Policy Staff (OPS), the Department began to report to the Vice President, Operations Policy (OPSVP).

On July 1, 1983, the Urban Projects Department was merged with the water supply functions of the former Transportation and Water Department (TWD) to form the new Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD). The Department continued to report to the Vice President, Operations Policy (OPSVP). The Department operated as a sector department with responsibility for operations and development policy formulation, research,operational support and quality control for project and sector work. Anthony Churchill, who had taken over from E.V.K. Jaycox as the Urban Projects Department (URB) director on October 15, 1979, was named director of Department; Ping-Cheung Loh would take over on July 1, 1986.

The structure of the Department comprised an Operations Support and Research Division (WUDSR), which in turn comprised an Operations Research Unit (WUDOR) and the UNDP-affiliated Water Supply and Sanitation Unit (WUDWS) and Applied Research and Technology Unit (WUDAT). On October 1, 1985, the Department was reorganized to bring the policy advisors together under the Senior Advisor heading of the Operations Policy and Research Staff (WUDOS), and the rest of the staff under the Chief of the renamed Operations Research and Policy Division (WUDOD).

On July 1, 1987, a Bank-wide reorganization resulted in the termination of almost all organizational units. A new department, the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department (INU), incorporated the previous Water Supply and Urban Development Department and Transportation Department, and was placed in the Sector Policy and Research Vice-Presidency (PRE, then, after January 1, 1990, the PRS). The PRE had no responsibility for managing operational activities but, rather, focused on operational support, the formulation of Bank-wide sector policies and overseeing the ex post evaluation of Bank-wide sector work and lending. The units within the PRE concentrated on policy creation and analysis, support for operations and sectoral research for emerging priority areas of the Bank.

The Infrastructure and Urban Development Department comprised three divisions: Transport Division, Urban Development Division, and Water and Sanitation Division. The Department was responsible for:

  • developing, in consultation with the Regions, priorities for research and policy on key issues in urban development;

  • conducting policy analyses, research, external liaison, operational support, and related quality enhancement activities on various economic, environmental, institutional and management issues;

  • advising on urban development issues in the design of country strategies, and in adjustment and sector operations;

  • providing operational support to strengthen links among research, policy and projects;

  • reviewing annual performance of Bank operations in the urban sector; and

  • disseminating research results and policy studies for the sector and organizing and conducting appropriate training seminars on emergingissues in the sector.

On December 1, 1991, President Lewis Preston's first reorganization abolished all Senior Vice-Presidencies. The new Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OSP) was created and adopted functions previously supervised by Senior Vice Presidents, including the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department. On January 1, 1993, as part of a larger initiative to align the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort, the Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency was terminated. It was replaced by three new thematic vice presidencies: Human Resources Development and Operations Policy (HRO), Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD), and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD).

On January 1, 1993, the urban development function was placed in the newly created Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU). The Department's first director was Louis Y. Pouliquen. The Department was organized within the Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency alongside three other sector or thematic departments: the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (AGR), Environment Department (ENV), and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Secretariat. At the time of its creation, the Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department had the following divisions: the Transportation Division (TWUTD), the Urban Development Division (TWURDS), the Water and Sanitation Division (TWUWS), and the UNDP/WorldBank Water and Sanitation Program (TWUWU).

Each Sector Department was responsible for the following:

  • preparing policies, guidelines, standards, handbooks and analytical tools relevant to the sector;

  • identifying, codifying and disseminating best practices and lessons of experience, and evaluating weaknesses;

  • providing advice to the Regions as needed;

  • monitoring and tracking work in the sectors assigned in order to identify generic issues and identifying, evaluating and influencing trends and patterns;

  • performing surveys of experience and practice within the Bank and elsewhere, and develop innovative approaches;

  • participating in Bank-wide efforts to assess skill requirements, and to upgrade skills through recruitment, training, orientation, seminars, newsletters, etc.;

  • representing the Bank to external communities of interest;

  • maintaining an awareness of relevant external practices and viewpoints.

Four years later, in 1997, the thematic Vice-Presidencies were reorganized to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. To facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, the Bank established networks that linked Bank-wide communities of staff working in the same field across organizational boundaries and with external partners. The networks formed a virtual overlay on the existing Bank organization, and were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regions, in the Central Vice-Presidencies' SectorDepartments, or other Vice-Presidencies.

Each of the three thematic Central Vice-Presidencies was transformed into the central units, or anchors, of each network and consisted of the existing sector departments. On a Bank-wide basis, sector specialists were grouped into regional sector units or into central sector departments which worked with country departments in a matrix relationship. Staff from the central sector departments could become part of the regional operational teams when their sectoral expertise was required. The work programs of Network staff focused on:

  • global knowledge - putting the best development knowledge in the hands of Bank task teams; ensuring that the knowledge base was accessible to external clients; and contributing to the growth of the knowledge base;

  • enhanced skills - developing and providing content to training courses; establishing professional and technical standards for professional development;

  • shared strategies - assisting regional and central units to develop acommon sector agenda, and ensuring that skills are effectively deployed across the entire network. Network leadership assumed responsibility for global programs, sector strategy development and evaluation, strategic partnerships, and learning and dissemination;

  • best teams and best practices - improving the Bank's flexibility and mobility by building stronger task teams and delivering higher quality products;

  • institutional initiatives - providing substantial support for new Bank-wide initiatives, suchas Social Development, Rural Development, Financial Sector, Anti-corruption, Human Resources, and Knowledge Partnerships.

The result of the 1997 restructuring was four networks: the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network (ESSD); the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPD); the Human Development Network (HDN); and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PRM). The Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU) retained its nameand component parts and was situated within the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPSI).

The Department again retained its name and component parts when, in 1999, the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network became the Private Sector Development and Infrastructure (PSI) Network. In 2001, however, activities related to water were removed and joined with energy to form the Energy and Water Department (EWD). The newly formed Transport and Urban Development Department (TUD) remained in the Private Sector Development and Infrastructure Network until it was moved into the Infrastructure Network (INF) in 2003. On January 1, 2007, urban development functionality was moved into the Finance, Economics and Urban Department (FEU) and placed in the Sustainable Development Network (SDN).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were transferred directly from sector units to the Archives using approved records retention and disposition schedules.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records related to activities undertaken by the urban development sector. The majority of records in the fonds are reference materials created or received by the Water Supply and Urban Development Department (WUD) and, more specifically, the Water Supply and Urban Development Department Operations Support and Research Unit (WUDOR). These records were created by Unit staff as well as by other World Bank offices and consultants and organizations external to the bank. Materials include research and discussion papers on a variety of topics related to the World Bank's urban development function. The fonds also contains records relating to the operation and administration of the Urban Poverty Program by the Urban Operations Review and Support Unit (URBOR) and to the research and reporting activities for which it was responsible. Records include reports and memoranda created by the Unit as well as by Regional offices. Finally, the fonds consists of records related to the Conference on Improving the Effectiveness of Urban Assistance convened by the World Bank in Washington on December 2-6, 1985. Records include planning materials as well as speeches, speaker biographies, and a published copy of the summary of proceedings.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are expected.

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Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

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Finding aids

Note that not all urban development operational projects (loans, credits, grants, and trust funds) are represented in this fonds. Researchers who are interested in operational projects are encouraged to reference the Projects and Operations Database on-line. The Projects and Operations Database search can be narrowed to include only those projects within the urban development sector and it contains some final reports specific to each project. Should researchers wish to access the archival records related to these projects, cite the Project ID number when making arequest.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Record sets of each center's publications are held by that center.

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See Records of the Water Development Sector (WB IBRD/IDA WAT) for records created by the Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department (EWT) that relate to the Urban Poverty Program.

  • See Records of the Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency -- TWU Chronological files (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_90) forrecords related to the Transportation, Water, and Urban Development Department (TWU).

  • See Records of Individual Staff Members -- Timothy Campbell Files -- Transportation, Water, and Urban Development Department Urban Development Division Chronological Files (WB IBRD/IDA STAFF-12-03) for records related to Campbell's time in TWU.

  • See various Regional Vice Presidency fonds for records related to urban development Technical Assistance units located in Regional Technical Departments. Records relate to region- and country- specific sector studies and planning, operational support, staff training, and the provision of advice and materials to Bank staff, clients, and donors.

  • See Records of the Senior Vice President of Operations - Transportation, telecommunication, water, and urban development (WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_106-01).The departments described in this subfonds were assigned sub-group or series classification numbers from the Non-Regional Information Center (NRIC) from the Bank's centralized file unit. The departments often supported more than one sector at a time and this is reflected by folders that contain records of more than one sector. As a result, the records of these departments have been placed in Records of the Senior Vice President of Operations(WB IBRD/IDA WB_IBRD/IDA_106) fonds, whom the departments reported to, rather than separated and dispersed into their respective sector fonds.

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Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

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Dates of creation revision deletion

15 February 2012




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