International Development Planning Review

Conceptualising the potential of informal land markets to reduce urban poverty

International Development Planning Review (2009), 31, (4), 335–353.

Abstract

There is a strong argument that the formalisation of informal land markets can reduce urban poverty. In this view, the potential to reduce poverty lies in the ability of the state to introduce appropriate forms of formality and the intrinsic abilities of markets to generate wealth. Pointing to evidence that the results of formalisation initiatives have been less impressive in practice, I argue that one of the reasons is a failure to analyse informal land markets in their own terms. Drawing on evidence from informal land markets in informal settlements in three of South Africa's metropolitan areas, I demonstrate how informal land markets can be seen in their own terms and the difference this makes to analysing their potential to reduce poverty.

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Marx, Colin