Category Archives: Publications

Land Tenure Typology


Before making any policy decisions regarding land tenure or property rights, it is advisable to undertake a review of the existing situation and the implications of each tenure category. Producing a typology of locally present tenure categories and their associated property rights will help you to do this. This website posting highlights the main concerns for undertaking a typology, gives step by step instructions on how to undertake your own typology of your local area and provides a general typology which can be adapted to local contexts.

Download detailed guidelines on what to do about unauthorised settlements and to produce a Land Tenure Typology

How to undertake a Regulatory Audit


This website posting will help you find out what a regulatory audit is, the benefits and limitations of undertaking an audit, and how to undertake your own audit.

What is a regulatory audit?

A regulatory audit is a comprehensive review of regulations, standards and administrative procedures relating to urban land development. It provides a record of all the laws, byelaws, decrees and other official norms that seek to determine what developers, land-owners, communities and residents are entitled to do with and on urban land. In their entirety, these various norms constitute the regulatory framework for urban planning and building. Unless specified, they should apply equally to all those groups, organisations or individuals seeking to acquire, develop or transfer urban land.

A regulatory audit should assess the scope and nature of the regulatory framework and its impact on enabling land and housing markets to operate in ways which enable all sections of the population, especially the poor and vulnerable groups, such as women, to obtain legal land, shelter, services and credit.

Why do a regulatory audit?

Laws, regulations and other official requirements relating to urban land development are usually extremely complicated. In many cases, this is because they have been in place for many years and may even have been inherited from colonial administrations. Subsequent changes may have imposed different requirements without necessarily removing the earlier ones from the statute book. At the same time, requirements may have different levels of official status, in that some may be mandatory and others discretionary. Some may be imposed nationally by central government, and others by provincial or local authorities, many of which may not be applicable consistently.

As if these complications were not enough, the language used may be in English or another language not widely understood locally and the style of writing may be full of terms and phrases only comprehensible to professionals.

For all of these reasons, a regulatory audit can help to clarify what people are expected to do in order to meet official requirements. However, an audit serves a more useful policy objective. It enables those responsible for formulating and implementing the myriad requirements to assess the extent to which changes may be necessary in order to ensure that the regulatory framework is consistent with urban planning and management policy objectives. Requirements based on outdated assumptions or objectives, (such as protecting the earlier interests of colonial elites), or inappropriate conditions (such as high levels of economic development), can be removed or revised to reflect current realities and expectations of the population. An audit can highlight those aspects of planning regulations, standards and administrative procedures which can ensure that the regulatory framework facilitates planned development and meets the needs of all sections of the population, not just an affluent minority.

What benefits can a regulatory audit offer?

Regulatory audits provide urban managers with an objective basis for identifying and monitoring individual components of the regulatory framework. This can help measure their impact on facilitating planned development and reducing the need for squatting and other forms of unauthorised development. They can therefore form a key tool in the development of pro-poor urban development strategies.

What are the limitations of a regulatory audit?

As with any audit, the value of a regulatory audit depends largely on the accuracy and level of information available. Collecting information on the relevant legislation, planning and building codes is a time consuming, though not difficult task. However, assessing the extent to which a specific component represents a constraint to accessing legal shelter for the poor will depend on obtaining the views of those directly involved and this requires time, sensitivity and a degree of independence. This suggests that it is preferable for a local NGO or university to be commissioned to undertake the audit.

Download detailed guidelines for how to undertake a regulatory audit

Download a sample regulatory audit table

Once you have read our guidelines or tried your own audit please help us out with feedback, contributions, comments and ideas – we will be very happy to hear from you.

If you wish to receive more information about this and any other projects undertaken by Geoffrey Payne and Associates, please email us via our contact page and we will be pleased to include you in a mailing list of project updates.

‘The Urban Housing Manual: Making Regulatory Frameworks Work for the Poor’

(Geoffrey Payne and Michael Majale) Earthscan, 2002

urbanhousingmanualEvery day millions of people around the world spend their hard-earned income improving houses they do not officially own or legally occupy. The vast majority are poor householders in urban areas of the South, where, in some cities, more than half the population lives in various types of unauthorized housing. As land in urban areas becomes more expensive and globalization accelerates the commercialization of urban land markets, people are forced to occupy unused government land, or purchase agricultural land and build a house without permission ? activities that urban authorities are often seeking to prevent.

Red tape is a significant stumbling block to the provision of affordable shelter to the urban poor and, indeed, slums are largely the result of inappropriate regulatory frameworks. This handbook tackles the issue of regulatory frameworks for urban upgrading and new housing development, and how they impact on access to adequate, affordable shelter and other key livelihood assets, in particular for the urban poor. The book illustrates two methods for reviewing regulatory frameworks and expounds guiding principles for effecting change, informed by action research.

This practice-oriented manual, which includes a free CD-ROM of case studies, research methods and other reference material, is essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goal 7, Target 11 of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

Land, Rights & Innovation

(Editor) Intermediate Technology Publications London, 2002

landrightsinnovationEvery day millions of people around the world spend their hard-earned income improving houses they do not officially own or legally occupy. The vast majority are poor householders in urban areas of the South, where, in some cities, more than half the population lives in various types of unauthorized housing. As land in urban areas becomes more expensive and globalization accelerates the commercialization of urban land markets, people are forced to occupy unused government land, or purchase agricultural land and build a house without permission ? activities that urban authorities are often seeking to prevent.

Land, Rights and Innovation examines the complex issues surrounding land tenure, and the challenges they present for urban planners in the South and in the transition economies of Eastern Europe. Based on extensive research, the book brings together a diverse range of examples from 17 countries where the authorities have evolved practical, innovative approaches to providing tenure for the urban poor. These widen the choices available for residents, encourage local investment to reduce poverty and facilitate the development of more equitable and efficient urban land markets.

The inclusion of a chapter examining the legal issues of security of tenure, as well as an introduction and a conclusion summarizing the way forward, makes this book of value to all those responsible for formulating and implementing urban land tenure policies in the rapidly changing and expanding cities in the South and transition economies.

Urban Projects Manual (Second Edition)

(Joint Editor), Liverpool University Press 1983. British contribution to International Year of the Homeless. Second edition 2000.

urbanprojman1This manual was first published in 1983 and has been continually in print ever since. This second revised edition contains updated text and references that have brought the manual up to an appropriate standard for use as a basic development tool for urban professionals and their client communities. The manual is based on field experience in many countries, but particularly that gained in Ismailia from 1977-1980 in designing and implementing the first "sites and service" and upgrading project to be adopted formally and implemented in Egypt. The manual closely follows the technical process employed in carrying out the project and concentrates on the approach rather than particular solutions. This allows it to be used in many situations.

Making Common Ground: Public/private partnerships in land for housing

(Editor) Intermediate Technology Publications (for DFID) London, 1999

making-common-ground-2This book provides a comprehensive review of experience in designing and implementing a wide range of partnerships for the efficient and equitable use of urban land.

Using examples from countries throughout the world and at all levels of economic development, the author looks at the achievements and limitations of formal partnerships. Evidence is presented to show that a range of informal partnerships, or relationships, has evolved, especially in developing countries. These are shown to have made a far greater impact on urban land development and to have been of greater benefit to lower income groups. The book therefore adopts a broad and inclusive definition of partnerships and shows that they exist within a continuum of public/private relationships.

All examples are assessed according to four criteria, the extent to which partnerships have:

1.) Increased the supply of urban land
2.) Improved the efficiency of urban land markets
3.) Improved access for low-income groups
4.) Provided the basis for a more productive relationship between public and private sectors

Recommendations are given for improving and expanding the contribution of partnerships according to varied local conditions. This book will be essential reading for urban and town planners, academics and their students.

Urban Land Tenure and Property Rights in Developing Countries: A Review

ODA/Intermediate Technology Publications, London 1997

tenurepropertyrightsUrban land markets exert a major impact upon the ability of lower income groups to obtain access to adequate shelter and services. When they do not function well, the poor suffer more than anybody else. Whilst the importance of land issues has been widely recognized for many years, urban land tenure and property rights have not been a subject of significant academic or professional interest until relatively recently. This has made it difficult for governments to formulate and implement appropriate policies. This review surveys the extensive international literature on the subject. It proposes a typology which includes statutory, customary and unauthorized tenure systems, as a basis for assessing existing problems and formulating appropriate policies. It concludes with recommendations for improving tenure security which maximize benefits to the poor and minimize market distortion.

The Living City: Towards a Sustainable Future

Routledge 1990

livingcityThe options and probabilities for the future of cities are issues of outstanding contemporary importance, both in the developed and developing worlds. The living city draws together both current main steams ideas on their futures and various alternative views to enliven the debate and put forward an agenda for sustainable urban development, emphasizing ideas that questions the economic imperatives of that development. Certain aspects of city life - the economy of the city, city-countryside relationships, the city as a cultural centre - are selected for study, as the book looks at the historical past and the current experiences to speculate on the likely condition of cities in the future. In addition, the book investigates whether the Third World experience of city life is a separate experience or whether there are lessons to be learnt relating to all cities.

The book will appeal to professionals in the surveying, planning and architectural fields, as well as students and academics in Planning, Geography, Economics, Architecture, Developments Studies and Sociology, and anyone interested in current issues concerning the city and the environment.

Informal Housing and Land Subdivisions in Third World Cities: a Review of the Literature

CENDEP, Oxford Polytechnic 1989

informalhousingStudies of informal sector housing within developing countries commonly embrace a wide variety of settlement processes. The literature abounds with studies of "self-help" housing, case studies of slums and squatter settlements and their locally defined variations. Whether it is termed an informal, popular or private sector activity, it has been widely assumed that these forms of land development and housing provision are based upon social rather than commercial considerations. In this way, the urban poor are seen as able to protect themselves - at least to some extent - from the rigours of regressive market forces or the inefficiencies of state bureaucracy

For many observers, it has come as something of a shock, not to say a disappointment, to find that many informal sector types of housing provision are as widely subject to commercial pressures as other aspects of urban life. As they have grown in scale, so informal housing sub-markets have become more complex, whether this is a progressive or retrogressive tendency is presently the subject of considerable interest and concern among analysts.

This review of the literature attempts to describe and evaluate the literature on informal housing and land subdivisions. Some of the publications referred to are intended for specialist audiences, whilst others are research reports which may be difficult for the practicing professional to obtain or put to use. By bringing together the efforts of many observers, analysts and practitioners into this short study, it is hoped that research achievements to date can provide a sound basis for both future research directions and, eventually, more responsive government policies.

Low Income Housing in the Developing World: The Role of Sites and Services and Settlement Upgrading’

(Editor), John Wiley 1984

lowincomehousingSites and services and settlement Upgrading are two major approaches to the massive need for low-income housing in the developing countries. Students and teachers of development administration, urban studies, and architecture in the Third World and practitioners in housing and architecture with interests in developing countries will find here a comprehensive survey of the experience of these approaches throughout the world. It combines detailed case studies with an examination of specific aspects such as the roles of international agencies, consultants, and users, the impact of land markets, institutional and political factors, and the options for servicing and building shelters in such projects.