International Development Planning Review

The social and economic impacts of peri-urban access to land and secure tenure for the poor: the case of Nairobi, Kenya

International Development Planning Review (2008), 30, (1), 27–66.

Abstract

The current debate on urban land markets suggests that the social and economic impacts of land access are higher when land tenure is formalised and integrated in the formal economy. Research in sub-Saharan African cities suggests that informal systems can be a gradual and more equal alternative. This paper analyses the process, social and economic impacts of access to land and tenure by poor households moving from informal settlements to the peri-urban areas of Nairobi through studying six recent cases of land-buying cooperatives, trusts and societies, including one case in which the poor actually relocated. It indicates the viability of a 'third way' of hybrid land access through formal collective land purchase and informal land subdivision in sub-Saharan African metropolitan contexts. It demonstrates beneficial economic impacts of investments in housing improvements and renting rooms as alternatives to collateralised lending and how these can be further increased through process optimisation and inclusive (peri-)urban land governance.

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Hendriks, Bob