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04-08: Land Policies for Affordable Housing
Law and Inclusive Urban Development: Lessons from Chile's Enabling Markets Housing Policy Regime
Stanford Law School, United States of America
This paper addresses the recent international trend in development theory and practice towards a so-called “enabling markets” approach in housing policy. This approach calls for delegating to housing markets the responsibility of providing affordable housing and therefore limiting the role of government to stimulating the market through targeted subsidies. I ask whether an enabling markets policy constitutes an adequate regulatory strategy for the provision of sustainable housing solutions for the urban poor. I explore this question through an in-depth case study of Chile’s pioneer market-based housing policy regime. My analysis demonstrates that a market-based strategy based on targeted subsidies aimed at promoting homeownership does not necessarily lead to affordable housing for the low-income sector of adequate quality, because the policy strategy does not interfere with the market dynamics that tend to concentrate the poor in cheap, isolated, and underserved urban neighborhoods. The evidence collected suggests that Chile’s government needs to use land use governance mechanisms to ensure that low-income housing is fairly distributed within cities. The Chilean experience casts doubt on the general market-oriented approach to affordable housing policy, and suggests that an enabling housing markets strategy should be complemented by a planning housing markets approach.
Housing Affordability: The Land Use Regulation link to Informal Tenure in Developing Countries
Torcuato Di Tella University, Argentine Republic
This paper provides empirical evidence on the causal association between land use regulation and housing affordability in cities from Latin America, where informal residential tenure condition of households is widespread. Filling the gap of the lack of a source of comparable and systematic knowledge on the topic, we collected a nationwide survey of local land use regulation from planning professionals in Argentina’s municipalities. A set of land use indicators are then created allowing the analysis of the regulatory environment (e.g., existence of land use plans; authorities involved in zoning changes and residential projects approval processes; existence of building restrictions, infrastructure provision, the presence of access to land regulatory elements, and the cost related to project approvals). Between other findings, we document that highly stringent regulatory context constrains formal housing development, inducing lower rates of compliance with property laws. We also find negative effects on formality for residential approval costs, tighter regulation (in the form of more authorities involved in housing projects approvals), and positive effects on formal tenure housing driven by the existence of inclusionary policies.
Evaluating “Zero Land Policy”: Iran’s initiative to provide homes for those with lower incomes
Research Center of Iran's Parliament, Iran, Islamic Republic of
“Zero Land Policy” is the main idea behind Iran’s nationwide “Mehr (Love) Housing Project”. ZLP was designed on the basis of the idea that the value of the land contributes to a great deal to the total costs and expenditure of the house built on that land (from 40% in small cities to 60% in capital Tehran).
In this project, governmental and national lands were allocated under the “99 years ownership/leasehold” plan, which is basically a design for a 99-year leasing of lands with very low pricing (near zero) to housing cooperatives for the purpose of building houses for those with lower incomes. Individuals who receive “99 years lands” can convert these lands to freehold and reverse the 99-year condition in return for a specified premium later.
So far, more than 2 million residential units with a total capacity of 8 million individuals (10 percent of the country’s population) have been allocated as part of the project.
The present study aims to investigate and evaluate the policies behind Mehr (Love) housing project based on the idea of Zero Land policy.
Land Administration Effectiveness in State-Subsidised Housing in Du Noon, Cape Town, South Africa
University of Calgary, Canada
Du Noon is a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing development in Cape Town, South Africa built in the 1990s. The RDP programme and subsequent state-subsidised housing programmes have delivered some 3.7 million housing opportunities, and it is one of the largest housing and land titling programmes ever undertaken. The study examined the effectiveness of land registration in state-subsidised housing developments, the involvement of community based organisations in land governance, the impacts of the behaviour of the of officials and CBOs in the housing delivery process, and the consequences of relaxing building standards in pro-poor housing projects. The study builds on a number of case studies where official systems of land tenure administration function very well. In Du Noon this is not the case. Contributing factors may be that community based organisations have offered alternative strategies to transact in land, the relaxation of building standards has reduced the level of visible administration by street level bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs have bought houses for well below cost, demolished them and built blocks of flats that cover the entire site. Ongoing visible administration and title maintenance appear to be critical elements that are missing.
“From The Right To Housing To The Defense of Titling And Private Property: A Critique Of The Peruvian Approach to Housing Informality And A Contribution To A New Land And Housing Policy”
Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies - MIT, United States of America
Traditional explanations of informality in rapidly urbanizing regions like Latin America have often reduced the phenomenon to an inadequate urban planning system, incapable of coping with the dramatic rate of urbanization that outstrips every form of planning process. However, less attention has been brought to the economic and political structures that actually cause and reproduce informality. This work firstly explores the land and housing policies implemented in Peru through the second half of the 20th century that allowed informal settlements to occur. Secondly, it analyses the land deregulating policies and the land titling program that was massively deployed during the 1990s under the neoliberalizing project of former president Alberto Fujimori, with the financial aid of international development banks and following Hernando De Soto’s famous theory on property rights and informal settlements. The analysis shows how on one side these policies augmented the gap that separated the population from the formal market which ended up reproducing informality; and on another side, it shows that these policies functioned within an authoritarian regime that used titling and social spending to create strong clientelist bonds with the poorest sectors of the population, while undermining the State’s own financial capacities for investment in creating affordable land and housing.