Category Archives: Publications

Reflections on Habitat III: An article on the Royal Town Planning Institute website


                                                        Geoffrey Payne: Contribution to Habitat III in Quito

Geoff was invited by the RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) to write a summary of the Habitat III conference in Quito, in October 2016. The blog can be uploaded here.

Geoff in UN-Habitat Global Urban Lecture series

The United Nations has just released Geoff’s lecture on land tenure and property rights as part of the UN-Habitat Global Urban Lecture series. You can see it on their website.

The lecture distills 30 years of international experience on land tenure issues to provide a short, non-technical review of concepts, issues, methods and policy examples.

Geoff hopes the lecture will be useful for students, practitioners and policy makers and would be happy to receive feedback.


Late last year, we celebrated twenty years since Geoffrey Payne and Associates was established. I wrote a short paper to reflect on these two decades and outline the actions I think are needed to improve access to land and housing in the future. I invited friends to contribute their own thoughts and ideas and I was honoured to receive many contributions. Tania helped edit these into a compilation which is now available here. We hope this will stimulate discussion and prompt others to reflect on issues that need addressing in the next twenty years. Comments or suggestions are welcome!

UK DFID report – August 2015

In early 2015, Geoff was commissioned by DAI Consultants to produce a report for the UK DFID on ‘Legitimate land tenure and property rights: Fostering compliance and development outcomes’. The report went through several iterations involving several colleagues in DAI and was finally published by DFID in August 2015. The report is intended to inform and advise policy makers in particular and Geoff would welcome comments from these, or others in terms of the degree to which this objective has been realised. 

The full paper can be downloaded by clicking on this link:  

This report should be cited as:
Payne, G., Mitchell, J., Kozumbo, L., English, C. and Baldwin, R. (2015)
Legitimate land tenure and property rights: fostering compliance and development outcomes.
London: DAI.

Secure Land Rights for All

Global Land Tool Network – UN-Habitat

secure-land-for-allA new publication, co-written by Julian Quan and Geoff Payne, was launched on 06 May at the Commission on Sustainable Development in New York. ‘Secure Land Rights for All’ addresses land tenure issues and policy options in both rural and urban areas. The publication is intended to assist policy makers to understand and apply practical options for making land rights more secure in ways which also improve land policies as a basis for sustainable development.

Proposed Incremental Approach to Tenure and Property Rights


Approaches to improving tenure security for the urban poor have recently focused on allocating individual land titles. Research has shown however that this does not always realise its objectives and that a more incremental approach can provide security, minimise the burden on land administration agencies and also minimise land market distortions. This article outlines a way in which an incremental approach can be followed.

Access this note

Why should donors invest in urban areas?


Many international agencies and NGOs are reluctant to invest or intervene in the urban areas of developing countries. Their reasons vary between assuming that the poorest groups live in rural areas and that urban areas are unable to continue absorbing more people. There is also a fear that to improve urban areas will only encourage more migrants. Geoff Payne addresses these concerns in a brief note arguing the case for agencies and NGOs to become more active in addressing the issues facing urban areas and enabling them to achieve the Millennium Development Goal Targets of Poverty Reduction and Environmental Improvement. 

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Improving tenure security for existing slum residents and helping prevent the need for future slums


The role of a Land Tenure Typology and Regulatory Audits as complementary approaches to a more secure future.

Millions of people currently live without adequate security of tenure or property rights in the urban areas of developing countries. The United Nations expects the total to increase by nearly 37 million a year to 1.5 billion by 2020. In urban areas, where costs of access to legal land and housing are high and rising far faster than incomes, millions have to resort to illegal and unstable shelter. This is not just a problem for those living with insecurity on a daily basis who are unlikely to operate to their maximum potential, or invest in improving their homes and neighbourhoods. It is also a serious problem for governments seeking to harness the creative energies of their populations to achieve economic development and reduce poverty. In some countries, the proportion of people living in unauthorised settlements is already much higher than those in formal land and housing markets.

Given these high rates of urbanisation and urban growth during recent decades in developing countries, it is essential to improve the security and rights of people who are currently in the various types of unauthorised settlements. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals aim ‘to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers’ by 2020. However this target appears insignificant when compared to the 1.5 billion who are expected to be living in slums during the same period. On this basis, even achieving the MDGs will result in 1.4 billion people living in slums over and above existing numbers . It is therefore also essential to address the issue of how to reduce the need for new unauthorised settlements in the future by increasing the supply of planned, legal and affordable land on a scale equal to present and future demand.

Before making any policy decisions to address these parallel issues, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive understanding of local land tenure patterns and the frameworks which regulate urban land development and supply. The ‘Land Tenure Typology’ and ‘Regulatory Audit’ presented in this web page are two highly complementary tools developed by GPA, which will enable you to undertake your own review of the existing situation in your local area. This understanding can then inform decisions about policies to increase tenure security for existing slum populations -and even more importantly – make the need for future slums, less necessary.

Try these two techniques and let us know if they are useful!