A City Development Strategy (CDS) is a tool that helps a city harness the potential of urbanization through strategic planning. It is an action-oriented process, developed and sustained through participation, to promote equitable growth in cities and their surrounding regions to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

A CDS helps cities integrate a strategic development approach and a long-term perspective into their urban planning. The idea behind a CDS is that “well-positioned, well-timed public, private and civil society strategic interventions can significantly change a city’s development path and improve its performance” [1].

A CDS is not only concerned with developing a strategy but also with its implementation and the sustainability of initiatives through integrating operation and maintenance issues into the whole process.

A CDS consists of four phases:

Phase 1: Where are we now? Getting organised and situation analysis

Phase 2: Where are we going? Visioning and strategic objectives

Phase 3: How are we going to get there? Strategy Formulation

Phase 4: How to implement and know if we are on track? Strategy implementation, monitoring & evaluation

The process of a CDS also includes cross-cutting issues that are relevant to all phases.