Sustainable urban services in small- and medium-sized cities


With growing population and consumption, small and medium-sized cities increasingly face important environmental and social challenges, in particular with regard to the environmentally sustainable and socially equitable provision of urban services, (e.g. water, sanitation and waste management). Small and medium-sized cities generally have less financial and technical capacities to respond to those challenges and they receive less political attention than metropolitan areas. If there is no creation of new knowledge in this domain to conceptualize systems adapted to the local ecological and sociocultural context, there is a risk of inappropriate models and solutions being imported from elsewhere, risking financial, environmental and population health. The same time, there is an opportunity to co-create sustainable and locally adapted systems at a scale where intervention is more feasible than in metropolitan areas.


To create urban service systems that are adapted to the local ecological and sociocultural context and that are socially and politically acceptable and sustainable.

Expected Benefits

  • In partner country: Strengthened research capacities and improved water provision, sanitation and waste management systems in the partner countries.
  • In Switzerland: Strengthened knowledge and increased collaboration between Swiss researchers, particularly between social scientists, urban planner and engineers. Spillover effect for Swiss consultancy firms engaging in urban planning in the Global South

Contact Information

René Véron,, phone: +41 21 692 30 63,

Institute of Geography and Sustainability, University of Lausanne

Sustainable Urban Services
Sustainable Urban Services

Partner countries: Countries in which research capacity remains relatively weak and that experience fast urbanization (e.g., Myanmar, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Niger)

Cost: CHF 16 Mio (700,000–1,000,000 per country and per year)

Duration: 4 years