Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 54: Gender, Poverty and Access to Land in Cities of the South
Carole Rakodi What all urban people need for well-being is a secure place to live, in a healthy environment within reach of work opportunities and essential services. In practical terms, security means both affordability and protection against arbitrary eviction, whether by agents of the state, private owners or people’s own relatives.1 In considering whether all groups of urban residents have a secure place to live it is first necessary to understand how they can gain access to land and property. This entails knowledge of the types of land and housing tenure that are available, the delivery channels that are open to people (especially the poor) and how they function, and whether those seeking land have the financial and other resources needed, such as time, literacy and contacts. It is also necessary to consider what happens if households’ or individuals’ claims to land or residence are contested, the legislative safeguards that are available, and the processes by which such safeguards can be enforced. Access to land therefore implies that three related sets of issues must be considered: law and regulation, socio-political structures and relationships, and economic context. Both land and property law and family law are critical, since the former defines and distinguishes interests in land and property, provides for registration and regulation of use, and contains mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts, while the latter governs marital relationships and inheritance. Family and kinship relationships are significant, since much access to land is linked to family position, but the arrangements for...
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