IHS Essay Contest on Urban Land Governance in Urban or Peri-Urban Areas


Join the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development (ULGSD) Master Track Essay Contest and win a €3000 tuition fee waiver.

The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies is organising an essay contest on land governance in urban or peri-urban areas. Our land experts are inviting you to write an additional essay on urban land issues as a part of your academic application for the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development (ULGSD) Master Track. The goal of this contest is to support students who want to study in the Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development (ULGSD) track, part of the MSc in Urban Management & Development. The winner is awared a €3000 tuitions fee waiver for the 2020/2021 academic year.

Who can participate?

Prospective and admitted students interested in joining the 1-year Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development programme as well as confirmed participants*.

What should the essay be about?

The essay should be between 500 and 1000 words (excl. references) and it should showcase your understanding of urban land governance issues in urban and peri-urban areas in a city of your choice. It may address topics dealt with in one or more of the 3 topical clusters taught in the programme. Learn more about the 3 clusters here.

By when should I submit the essay?

To give everyone enough time to work on the essay, we are extending the academic application deadline for this track till 15 July! Please note this essay is different from the one required for your academic application and should be submitted as a supporting document to your application.

Start your application

Terms of Reference

Topic: Urban land governance in urban or peri-urban areas

A definition
“Land governance is about the decisions that are made about access to land and its use, the manner in which these decisions are implemented and enforced, and the way that competing interests in land are managed.”

Palmer D., Fricska S. and Wehrmann B. (2009). Towards Improved Land Governance. Land Tenure Working Paper 11. UN-Habitat and FAO of the UN.


Choose one of the statements identified below. Indicate if you agree, disagree or have another opinion on it. Then clearly explain and justify your choice in 500 to 1000 words.

A few questions that will help guide your essay writing:

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the statement selected?

Make sure you select only one statement and clearly state your position.

  1. Why do you agree or disagree with the statement?

Clearly explain reasons you have taken this position.  

  1. What facts, evidence or experience do you have to support your explanation

Present the proof that supports your position. This could be in the form of data, statistics, literature, videos, photos or an account of personal experience.

The Statements

  • Most countries have good land policies, what is lacking is good land governance  
  • Everyone has the right to own property (property rights), therefore owning land/property is a human right.
  • Unequitable access to the use of land and property is the primary cause of economic inequality 
  • The lack of responsible and inclusive land governance and other resources explains the rise in environmental degradation

Criteria for selection:

We would be looking at the following:

  • A clear explanation of your position;   
  • The logic of the paper and sound development of the argument;
  • The originality of thoughts;
  • Well-informed essay (i.e., incorporating relevant facts and data);
  • Clear and attractive writing style (i.e., proper use of language, flow, transitions, grammar, sentence structure).


*Please note waiver schemes, such as this contest, cannot be combined with full scholarship awards. Legal regulations set by fellowship awarding bodies forbid the combination of scholarships with additional funding schemes. IHS will not violate this regulation.

All students with independent funding, or who secured a partial scholarship, are welcome to apply. The contest winner will be awarded directly by IHS either with a subsidy to the total invoice amount or a rebate of any already paid funding directly to the original debiting account.

Start your application

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