Urban Land Development

Access to land is a pre-condition to equitable and efficient urban development. Achieving this for low-income households under conditions of market-led development strategies presents particular challenges and opportunities. The central theme of GPA work in this area is to build local capacity for implementing public-private partnerships in land for housing in ways which benefit land-owners, local authorities and the poor themselves. The practice has extensive research and consultancy experience in countries as diverse as Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iraq, Lesotho, Pakistan and South Africa. It has also reviewed European Community funded urban projects (with Marie Therese-Manchotte) and contributed sections on urban land development to the current European Urban Strategy Paper and the recently published UK Target Strategy Paper 'Meeting the challenge of poverty in urban areas'. Papers on land development have been presented at numerous international conferences and published in academic journals. A number of books have also been published over the last few years;

‘The Urban Housing Manual: Making regulatory frameworks work for the poor’ (G.Payne and M.Majale) Earthscan 2004.
‘Land, Rights and Innovation: Improving tenure security for the urban poor’ (G.Payne Ed.) Intermediate Technology Publications, 2002.
'Making Common Ground: Public-private partnerships in land' Intermediate Technology Publications, 1999

(Available via our Publications page).

Selected Projects

2003 – 2004

  • South Africa – Towards developing a Programme of Support on Land Issues in South Africa

Advising the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – South Africa on options for supporting government policy on urban land management in ways which benefit the urban poor.

2001 – 2003

  • Maldives –Land management, housing and urban development

Team leader of international team and adviser on housing and urban development for World Bank funded project to provide capacity building for the Maldives Housing and Urban Development Board.

2000 - 2004

  • Bolivia, India, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania and Turkey - Regulatory Guidelines for Affordable Shelter

Research project commissioned by UK Department for International Development (DFID) to review existing barriers to legal shelter by the urban poor and options for removing them.

1998 - 2000

  • Cuba - Participatory urban development project

Preparing detailed proposals for a socially and economically sustainable urban development and housing project in Matanzas in collaboration with the municipality and the Instituto Superior Politecnico Jose Antonio Echeverria, Havana. The project is funded by the British Government.


  • DFID Strategy Paper 'Meeting the challenge of urban poverty'

Contributed to the preparation of this paper which forms the basis for UK priorities for reducing global poverty


  • Lesotho - Lesotho Institution Link project

Advising on the preparation of a participatory urban land development pilot project involving central and local government agencies, local residents and chiefs and the private sector. Sub-consultant to Ordnance Survey International on project funded by the UK government Department for International Development (DFID).


  • European Union

Contributed section on land policy to the EU Urban Strategy Paper for assistance to developing countries.

1996 - 1999

  • Public-Private sector partnerships in land for housing

International comparative review for DFID. The project focused on examples in Egypt, India, Pakistan and South Africa with commissioned studies on examples in Bulgaria, Cameroon, Mexico, Thailand, Russia and UK, etc.