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.