Holding Their Ground: Secure Land Tenure for the Urban Poor in Developing Countries

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Published six times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters. Conservation Land Management CLM is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles.

CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters. Exceptional customer service Get specialist help and advice. Presents and analyses the main conclusions of a comparative assessment programme on land tenure issues at a global level. It looks at how solutions can be found and implemented to respond to the demands and needs of the majority of urban households living in informal settlements, and analyses how urban stakeholders, under particular social, legal and economic constraints, are devising and employing innovative and flexible responses.

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Conservation Land Management. Go to Conservation Land Management. Click to have a closer look. Select version. About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles. Images Additional images. About this book Presents and analyses the main conclusions of a comparative assessment programme on land tenure issues at a global level. Contents Introduction - I International trends and country contexts: from tenure regularisation to tenure security?

Media reviews. Land tenure is important for rural development in developing countries. In light of rapid urbanization trends in these countries, the issue of land tenure security in urban areas is equally important. In this edited volume, experts in urban land management and policy in developing countries address this topic in the context of three specific case studies: India, Brazil, and South Africa.

Chapters discussing land tenure issues in these countries are organized in three separate parts.

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Contributors' writing style is clear and concise, and the text flows smoothly. Chapter 15 provides a comparison of how the three counties have dealt with the demands and needs of the majority of urban families living in informal settlements, while the final chapter provides an agenda for future research on this issue.

This book is carefully organized such that the introductory chapter and the two concluding ones give a splendid summary of the work presented. Land tenure is the right of an individual or group to occupy or use a piece of land. It can be via ownership or lease. Land rights is about confidence in the future.

People who are safe from eviction with a sense of long-term stability—whether they own the land or not—are much more likely to invest in their housing or community. Over time, these incremental improvements by residents can upgrade the entire community. There must also be a clear legal framework behind land rights. Often, slum dwellers face significant obstacles to owning or obtaining the rights to land.

Land markets are frequently dysfunctional, and inappropriate standards or regulations make it nearly impossible for local authorities to find enough well-located, serviceable and affordable land for the residents of overcrowded slum settlements. In addition, control of land is often connected to political patronage and corruption, making it difficult to get clear information about land ownership, use and availability.

Slum dwellers are part of the urban populace, with the same democratic rights to environmental health and basic living conditions as all residents.

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About Slum Upgrading | Cities Alliance

The process of realising the rights of slum dwellers hinges on their capacity to engage actively with the government. It is a question of creating a space where slum dwellers and the government can engage in a dialogue about slums and upgrading their communities.

Land Tenure Security for the Urban Poor

Through dialogue, the parties can begin to lay out their rights and responsibilities and design programmes that communities are able to respond to. Slum upgrading is a process through which informal areas are gradually improved, formalised and incorporated into the city itself, through extending land, services and citizenship to slum dwellers. It involves providing slum dwellers with the economic, social, institutional and community services available to other citizens.

These services include legal land tenure , physical infrastructure , social crime or education, for example or economic. Slum upgrading is not simply about water or drainage or housing. It is about putting into motion the economic, social, institutional and community activities that are needed to turn around downward trends in an area.

These activities should be undertaken cooperatively among all parties involved—residents, community groups, businesses as well as local and national authorities if applicable. The activities tend to include the provision of basic services such as housing, streets, footpaths, drainage, clean water, sanitation, and sewage disposal.

Three main types of informal settlements

Often, access to education and health care are also part of upgrading. In addition to basic services, one of the key elements of slum upgrading is legalising or regularising properties and bringing secure land tenure to residents. Ultimately, upgrading efforts aim to create a dynamic in the community where there is a sense of ownership, entitlement and inward investment in the area.

Urban upgrading is broadly defined as physical, social, economic, organisational, and environmental improvements undertaken cooperatively among citizens, community groups, businesses, and local authorities to ensure sustained improvements in the quality of life for residents. Generally, urban upgrading is about striking a balance between investing in areas that attract investment to the city on a global level and in programmes that invest in the citizens of the city so they can reap the benefits as well.

Holding Their Ground

The interconnectivity of the two is crucial to a successful development strategy of any city. Slum upgrading is an integrated component of investing in citizens. Residents of a city have a fundamental right to environmental health and basic living conditions. As such, cities must ensure the citizenship rights of the urban poor.

The main reason for slum upgrading is that people have a fundamental right to live with basic dignity and in decent conditions. If slums are allowed to deteriorate, governments can lose control of the populace and slums become areas of crime and disease that impact the whole city. Fostering inclusion.

Slum upgrading addresses serious problems affecting slum residents, including illegality, exclusion, precariousness and barriers to services, credit, land, and social protection for vulnerable populations such as women and children. Promoting economic development.


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Upgrading releases the vast untapped resources of slum dwellers that have skills and a huge desire to be a more productive part of the economy, but are held back by their status and marginality. Addressing overall city issues. It deals with city issues by containing environmental degradation, improving sanitation, lowering violence and attracting investment. Improving quality of life. It elevates the quality of life of the upgraded communities and the city as a whole, providing more citizenship, political voice, representation, improved living conditions, increased safety and security.

Holding Their Ground

Providing shelter for the poor. It is the most effective way to provide shelter to the urban poor at a very large scale and at the lowest cost. Slum upgrading costs less and is more effective than relocation to public housing. Developing land with basic services costs even less. It can be done incrementally by the city and by the residents at a pace that is technically and financially possible for both. The poor can and are willing to pay for improved services and homes.

Sometimes it is necessary to tear down a slum.