Urban Land Governance for Sustainable Development

Land is a natural resource that is fundamental to how cities work. All over the world, it is a critical instrument to help policymakers and urban managers achieve their goals of economic productivity, equity and environmental sustainability. Conversely, land-based challenges are at the root of some of the most pressing concerns facing local governments and their business and civil society partners, including local economic development, strategic and physical planning, enabling social housing and poverty reduction measures, providing infrastructure and basic services, and managing the urban environment.

The New Urban Agenda considers urban land governance as one of the main pre-requisites for realising its overall goal of sustainable urban development. How land is governed determines how well all kinds of land institutions function, such as tenure systems and property rights, land markets, the rule of law, land administration systems and land-based revenue generation.

Urban land governance refers to the legal structures and decision-making processes concerning access to land and its use, the implementation of such decisions, as well as institution and stakeholder management and the way all of them can shape the development of a city.

At IHS, the topic of land is addressed from three distinct perspectives. Besides looking into land rights and legal framework, land markets and finance, sustainable use and management of urban land, water and natural resources in urban and peri-urban areas is also recognised as a complex, multi-layered challenge, which cuts across sectors and jurisdictions.


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