Pacific island countries are rapidly urbanising, even by global standards. Escalating pressures on land, housing and services in Melanesian cities are resulting in social tensions, inequities and service shortfalls. International experience has shown that cities can be drivers of development and employment, but in Melanesia, the political and economic institutions to manage urban growth effectively have been lacking, and human and financial resources have fallen short. Even so, there have been pockets of innovation and successful partnerships that address the unique circumstances shaping Pacific urban development. This panel draws on the work of academics and practitioners currently working in cities around Melanesia to gain a better understanding of urban change processes, land management initiatives, and new institutional arrangements that have the potential to improve urban development prospects.