The prestigious journal Revue d’économie financière was putting together an issue entitled ‘Financing cities’. The editorial board asked me to write a piece on the topic of emerging countries, since the other articles related to issues in developed countries. My article highlighted a number of systems that limit the expansion of private funding in the urban sector. Following a review of estimated investment needs (market volume), the article outlined current financing mechanisms as well as examples of new types of financial instruments. Finally, it proposed a reading grid for the sector, which was no longer based on offer but on demand, i.e. the realities of the market and the interests of the various stakeholders.