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04-12: Policies for Urban Regularization
Between informal and illegal: Noncompliance with Planning and Building Laws
1Neaman Institute, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; 2Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Most countries have planning laws on their books, but among developing countries, these are often unsuitable Western imports. All planning laws are predicated on the assumption that the general public will comply. However, in the majority of countries around the globe – including a few OECD countries - this assumption doesn’t hold. In the discussion about developing countries, attention is usually given to informality in land tenure, and almost none to planning and buildings laws.
The reasons underlying noncompliance with planning laws vary most strikingly between the global north and south. In the south, the reasons are often basic human needs for food, shelter or employment. Among the advanced economies, illegal construction usually occurs on one’s legally owned land and the motivations are different.
Why is it so difficult for governments to achieve compliance with planning laws? The discussion usually neglects a key player: the format and contents of planning laws. How do these relate to the socio-cultural and economic structures of different societies? There is no systematic comparative research on these questions. The paper will provide a framework for analysis intended to help policymakers design planning laws and enforcement mechanisms which can engender greater public compliance and thus, relevance.
Honduras Experience with Land Regularization in Urban and Peri-Urban Areas
1Programa de Administración de Tierras de Honduras (PATH II), Honduras; 2The World Bank
In Honduras, despite the existence of property registries, the country has faced increasing levels of informality and land conflicts. The increase in informal employment is mainly due to the lack of housing projects for low-income families, rural-urban migration and the incidence of natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch. As a result, many Hondurans, particularly poor communities, have been unable to regularize their land tenure, which excludes them from the formal land market while restricting their access to the financial system.
It is estimated that about 60% of the parcels in the country lack a title of ownership or possessing a situation of irregularity. In this sense, it is very relevant to analyze the results that have been achieved so far, under the property regularization based on public need, through which some 46,000 titles have been issued in informal settlements of the country.
Despite all the challenges faced during 11 years of implementation, the results are satisfactory. In addition to having integrated these new owners in the formal land market, a very important result is that approximately 97,000 beneficiaries now enjoy social peace, since they cannot be evicted from their land, even though some of them are still in the process of obtaining their property title.
(Formalizing) Informal Housing: Addressing the Elephant in the Room
1Land Alliance; 2World Bank; 3NG Quality
In the next 20 years, the world would need to build as much urban housing as was built in the past 6,000 years. Incremental and self-construction of homes, which normally are not registered and do not comply with building codes, will continue to be the de-facto most important housing solution around the developing world. The existence of a fast, low-cost and transparent process for the regularization of informal constructions could play a key role in (i) incentivizing homeowners to invest their resources in upgrading their properties; (ii) increasing the property tax base for local governments; (iii) growing the demand for credit for home improvement; (iv) creating an attractive market base of housing units that comply with minimum standards for insurance companies; and (iv) granting legal security and giving families the opportunity to make the best possible use of their most important—and sometimes only—asset. In this paper we show the technical, legal and economic viability for the introduction of a program for the formalization of self-built homes in Lima, Peru and provide guidelines for how it could be replicated in other Latin American countries.
Invasion of vacant lands in the realm of urban development: a case study of the Kenya coast
National Land Commission, Kenya
Kenya has witnessed a massive growth in its major towns/ cities from the recent past. Populations have also increased both in the urban and county with a total estimate of 26.4% urban population in the year 2016 as compared to 10.3% in 1970s. While this is a great urban development milestone achieved, it has brought new challenges to the cities – congestion, escalating costs of living and high crimes are just but a few problems encountered. It is estimated that more than 250,000 Kenyans move into the cities every year. One of the World Bank’s fourth Economic Update titles “Turning Tide in Turbulent Times” argues that East Africa’s largest economy can benefit from demographic change and rapid urbanization, despite the pains it entails. One of those pains Kenya entails and the most critical issues is the invasion of public land and private land. This is resulting from problems of urban squatters, increasing populations and land grabbers. As such, the problem presented is far complex. majority of these people have invaded public and private properties without having any lawful right to be on the land they occupy.