Global Urban Development Magazine


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Land, Housing, and Transportation: The Global Challenge

Strategizing Slum Improvement in India

Basic Costs of Slum Upgrading in Brazil

Market-Driven Eviction Processes: Kigali and Phnom Penh

Decentralization of Argentina's National Housing Fund

Squatters No More: Singapore Social Housing

Land for Housing in African Cities

Limits to Large-Scale Reconstruction in Honduras

Property Rights in Namibia's 'Extra Legal' Settlements

Impacts of Transportation on Urban Poverty in Colombo, Sir Lanka


Regularization of Informal Settlements in Medellin, Colombia



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Published by
Global Urban Development

Executive Editor:
Dr. Marc A. Weiss

Managing Editor:
Nancy Sedmak-Weiss


Volume 3                    Issue 1                    November  2007

The World Bank/IPEA International Urban Research Symposium

Mila Freire, Bruce W. Ferguson, Ricardo Lima, Dean Cira, and Christine Kessides

As Sir Peter Hall notes in his article in this special issue of Global Urban Development Magazine, the “Urban Revolution” now occurring largely in developing countries presents great opportunities and risks. Urbanization can help raise standards of living, provide the infrastructure and services for immense improvement in human welfare, and free people from the total dominance of their daily struggle for food. The attractive neighborhoods and downtowns, efficient transportation, many amenities, impressive social indicators, and high standard of living of Singapore and Curitiba signal this potential. However, if mismanaged, the urban wave can bring a sharp rise in poverty, result in surrealistically desperate conditions, and foment disease and violence. The pavement dwellers of Mumbai living cheek-by-jowl with the immense wealth of this commercial capital of newly prosperous India, and the seemingly endless slums and hovels that consume many sub-Saharan African cities are emblematic of this other, less desirable, urban reality. more


Urban Land, Housing, and Transportation: The Global Challenge

Sir Peter Hall

We’re just passing one of the great milestones in human history – but hardly anyone is noticing.  It isn’t anything outwardly dramatic, like a revolution or a war.  But it is fundamental, in the sense that the Industrial Revolution in Britain was fundamental.  Future historians, doubtless, will call it the Urban Revolution.  For the first time in history, a majority of the world's six billion people are living in cities. Between 2000 and 2025, on the best estimates we have from the United Nations, the world's urban population will double, to reach five billion; city-dwellers will rise from 47 percent to over 61 percent of the world's population. more


Strategizing Slum Improvement in India: A Method to Monitor and Refocus Slum Development Programs

Robert M. Buckley, Mahavir Singh, and Jerry Kalarickal

This paper is the first joint Government of India and World Bank attempt to examine the existing housing and sanitation programs with a view to developing a framework for evaluating them.  Data was collected for four Housing Subsidy programs and two Sanitation programs from a series of conversations with government officials in concerned ministries at both the federal and the state government levels and from Government of India documents. more


Basic Costs of Slum Upgrading in Brazil

Alex Abiko, Luiz Reynaldo de Azevedo Cardoso, Ricardo Rinaldelli, and Heitor Cesar Riogi Haga

Slum areas in Brazil have expanded greatly, and particularly in the last two decades. The initiatives taken by the government in relation to this issue have evolved from superficial actions and measures aimed at minimizing infrastructure deficiencies to broader interventions seeking to consolidate newly upgraded slum areas as part of the city. This requires more far-reaching construction work and involves at least some restructuring of the road system, relocating and/or re-housing when necessary, and doing construction work that often affects areas surrounding slums. So, the aim of this paper is to assist in planning and examining strategic concepts for interventions in informal urban areas by compiling basic costs and technical data associated with understanding these items. more


Market-Driven Eviction Processes in Developing Country Cities: The Cases of Kigali in Rwanda and Phnom Penh in Cambodia

Alain Durand-Lasserve

So far, no satisfactory solution for addressing the challenge of slums has been found. Conventional responses are usually based on the combination of three main types of intervention: (i) in situ upgrading in existing informal settlements; (ii) evictions followed by resettlement on serviced sites on the periphery of cities; (iii) the preventive provision of low-cost serviced plots for housing. These responses have achieved limited results. Despite some major successes where political will and continuity, economic development and mobilization of resources in sufficient quantities have made possible the implementation at the national level of innovative policies for housing the poor (South Africa, Brazil, Tunisia, etc.), scaling up remains a major problem. Most slum policies are simply treating the symptoms and cannot be considered as structural and sustainable policies. The Millennium Development Goal is to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. This target would represent only 6% of the slum population in 2020. more


Seeking Better Policies or Just Giving Up Responsibility: The Decentralization of Argentina’s National Housing Fund

Cecilia Zanetta

Decentralization has played an important role in the context of the Washington Consensus, figuring prominently in the reform programs implemented in countries around the world during the 1980s and 1990s. While the benefits of decentralization have largely been posed in economic terms, such as its potential for increasing efficiency in the use of public resources, politics has been the force driving decentralization in most countries. As a result, decentralization has often been implemented hastily, paying little attention to the design of the underlying policy framework or the conditions that needed to be in place to ensure its success. Not surprisingly, the potential benefits from decentralization have often not materialized and sub-national governments have consistently failed to improve upon — or even replicate — the levels of performance of central governments. more


Squatters No More: Singapore Social Housing

Belinda Yuen

In this paper, we investigate the public housing policy of Singapore, which is often cited as a successful example of affordable housing production in Asian cities. As with Hong Kong, the Singapore public housing policy intervention for resident population has progressively led to society-wide enjoyment of the right to adequate housing. Some 85 per cent of Singapore’s resident population live in public housing. More than 850,000 housing units in 23 new towns have been constructed. While the poor elsewhere are homeless, the poorest 20 per cent of households in Singapore have equal access to housing resources, albeit public housing, and many are homeowners. The proportions bear witness to the realization of housing rights. more


Land for Housing in African Cities: Are Informal Delivery Systems Institutionally Robust and Pro-Poor?

Carole Rakodi

This paper will report on some of the findings from a recent research project that examined contemporary informal land delivery systems in five medium-sized cities in Anglophone Africa: Eldoret in Kenya, Kampala in Uganda,  Maseru in Lesotho, Gaborone in Botswana, and Enugu in Nigeria.. The aim of the project was to improve understanding of informal urban land development processes. It analysed the characteristics of contemporary informal land markets and delivery systems. more


Limits to Large-Scale Reconstruction in Honduras: Land Development for Low-Income Housing in Inadequately Functioning Land Markets

Glenn Pearce-Oroz

By focusing on three of the larger human settlements built during the reconstruction period following Hurricane Mitch (October, 1998), an opportunity exists to understand how these urban land markets respond to large-scale public sector interventions and how this type of land development has shaped urbanization patterns, if at all, six years later.  Three variables that have driven change in these land markets will be addressed: lack of enforcement of planning regulations; poorly functioning non-regulatory components of land markets; and agent-based choices and strategies.  Corrective measures, policy incentives, and the appropriate role of local governments will also be discussed. more


Property Rights, Land Markets, and Poverty in Namibia’s ‘Extra-Legal’ Settlements: An Institutional Approach

Manya M. Mooya and Chris E. Cloete

This paper represents work in progress of ongoing and wider research of urban land and real estate markets in Namibia. The research attempts to apply the conceptual tools of the New Institutional Economics, principally the theories of transaction costs and property rights, to the analysis of land and real estate markets in Namibia's ‘extra-legal’ urban settlements and how these markets interface with poverty alleviation. more


Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure and Services on Urban Poverty and Land Development in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Amal S. Kumarage

The City of Colombo serves both as the national capital and the largest city in modern Sri Lanka.  Colombo and its metropolitan area — referred to as the Colombo Metropolitan Region (CMR) — fall within the Western Province, which is the most densely populated and economically active region within the country.  Transportation activity within this region is also the densest in Sri Lanka. more


Approaches to the Regularization of Informal Settlements: The Case of PRIMED in Medellin, Colombia

John J. Betancur

Medellín is the second largest city and urban economy in Colombia. Capital of one of the most populated states in the country, the city hosts major activities serving the region and beyond. Profiting from the earnings of gold mining and coffee production, local notables carried out the first major industrialization drive in the country. As a result, the city industrialized in the first decades of the 20th century on the basis of a significant number of large manufacturing quasi-Fordist plants and many middle-size and small industries. more




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