Urban Land Tenure

A large and increasing proportion of people in the urban areas of developing countries are unable to obtain access to legal shelter and are forced to live in various types of unauthorised settlements. Whilst this presents urban authorities with major problems, the situation is even more difficult for the poor themselves. However, various forms of tenure have evolved to meet their needs and create situations in which there is now a continuum of formal, customary and non-formal tenure categories in most cities.

Geoffrey Payne, director of GPA, has been undertaking research on tenure issues since 1989, when he was commissioned to undertake an international review of the subject by the World Bank. Since then, he has carried out research for, amongst others, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in collaboration with the United Nations Campaign for Secure Tenure.

In 1999, GPA was commissioned by DFID and the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy in Cambridge, USA to undertake a major international research project on innovative approaches to secure tenure for the urban poor. This included examples from fifteen countries an has resulted in a documentary film called 'Land Rites' which was transmitted on BBC World Television in June 2001 as part of the run-up to the United Nations Istanbul+5 conference in New York. Geoffrey Payne was part of the UK delegation to this conference, at which the film and a media pack summarising the case studies was launched. A book is being prepared for publication at the end of 2001. In 2000, he was invited by the World Bank to present a paper on land tenure and property rights at the bank's annual Urban Forum.

Selected Projects

2004

  • ID21

Commissioned to review the draft 2005 World Bank Development report chapter on Security and Stability.

2003

  • Cambodia

Produced a land tenure concept paper for the National Campaign for Secure Tenure of Cambodia, for UN-Habitat.

  • UK government

Commissioned by DFID to prepare a report for the Cabinet Office assessing the work and proposals of Hernando de Soto on land tenure and property rights’.

  • ID21

Guest editor of research bulletin ‘Insights’ special issue on land tenure and property rights. 12,000 copies distributed to policy makers, administrators and professional groups internationally.

2002-2004

  • Cambodia – Improving Tenure Security for the Urban Poor

Director of ‘Secure tenure for the urban poor’ project funded jointly by Cities Alliance, UN-Habitat and GTZ to develop innovative approaches to providing secure tenure for the urban poor in Phnom Penh as part of the capital’s social and economic development strategy.

2002 - 03

  • Progress in the Provision of Secure Tenure for the Urban Poor

Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development as an extension to the project ‘Innovative approaches to secure tenure for the urban poor’ (below). The project will provided evidence of the strengths and limitations of ‘intermediate’ non-statutory tenure systems in providing secure shelter and their potential contribution to the formulation and implementation of pro-poor urban land tenure policies. It will also contribute policy options to the UN-Habitat campaign for Secure Tenure and the Cities Alliance activities.

2000 - 2001

  • Innovative approaches to secure tenure for the urban poor

Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development to review innovative approaches for increasing security of tenure for the urban poor. The project will review examples and prepare recommendations (including a film for television) to be submitted to the United Nations Campaign for Secure Tenure and the Istanbul+5 conference in 2001.

1996 - 1997

  • Urban land tenure policy

International review of policies on land tenure and property rights for the UK Overseas Development Administration (now DFID).

1989 - 1990

  • Land tenure and property rights

Commissioned by the World Bank to prepare a Discussion Paper.