Land Markets and Informal Settlement Regularisation


  3 weeks


  10 July – 28 July 2017

Tuition Fee

  € 2,750*



IHS application deadlines

  12 June 2017**

Admissions information

  Requirements and application procedure

NFP information

  Procedure and deadlines

  Note: NFP application is closed for 2017 intake


  UN Habitat

Abbreviation code

  LMISR 2017

Course information

  Joshua Ogugua

Course coordinator

  Paul Rabe

* Please note that for EU participants, the VAT of 21% will apply. The tuition fee stated above is excluding the VAT.

** If you require a Visa, we advise you to apply at least one month before the IHS application deadline.

Apply now


The course will enable you to understand the underlying causes of informal occupation of land and slum formation, to acquire knowledge and skills to develop upgrading strategies to improve slums, and to formulate policies that create options to prevent new slum formation.

The course is intensive in nature and innovative, demanding a proactive attitude from participants. They are engaged in a number of specially designed learning environments that comprise lectures, practical exercises, case study analysis, role-playing games, video films discussions and controversial policy debates. The course draws from lessons learned through international experience and stimulates creative thinking as participants are exposed to contexts from a wide variety of countries.

Who is it for?

The course is designed especially for those involved with and/or interested in land, housing and urban policies in developing countries, and countries in transition. Fellow participants have relevant work experience, and include decision makers at the local, metropolitan and national government levels, development professionals, academic teaching staff and professionals from civic society groups.

Create options and prevent new slum formation

Existing informal settlements need to be regularised and upgraded but, even more urgently; their growth needs to be decompressed. More and more people, and increasingly not only the poor, have no alternative other than to resort to slums, using a substantial part of their own resources to access land. Informality has to do with more than urban poverty; it has to do with the lack of capacity of cities and their markets to provide sufficient supply of well located, serviced, affordable and secure land.

What is called for is to accompany, if not actually to precede, regularisation efforts with sound preventive land strategies.  Such strategies should change the rules of the game, re-align land markets, mobilize the resources already used even by poor households, increase them by capturing the value created by the city and produce serviced land for all. Traditional tools to administrate land are not enough; preventive strategies need more effective instruments required to meet the challenge.

Throughout the Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation (LMIRS) course, two questions guide our learning:

-  How can we create options for low-income households so that they don’t have to resort to informality?

-  How can we effectively use innovative and preventive land instruments and not only curative action?

Course content

The course starts by enabling participants to understand the underlying causes of informal occupation of land and slum formation. Participants become aware that slums are increasingly shaped by how land markets work, how they fit into the overall land dynamics of the city, how different stakeholders inter-act as pushing and pulling factors in land allocation and how different kinds of public interventions either prevent, curtail or even stimulate more land informality.

Building on that understanding, the course then centres the attention on acquiring knowledge and skills to be able to formulate policies and implement land-related instruments. The course deliberately expands beyond regularising and improving existing slums; participants are exposed to a variety of notable land instruments to create preventive options that are increasingly attracting attention amongst leading experts. The curriculum is constantly being updated with the latest insights. Issues such as trading development rights, inclusionary zoning, fair vs. market compensation, land sharing and value mobilization, street led development and re-develop, alternative land tenure forms, and others are discussed in the course.

The course is innovative and intensive in nature and demands a proactive attitude from participants. Specially designed learning environments comprise not only lectures but also discussions, policy debates, case study analysis, and practical exercises. Role-playing games are an essential part of the course; they are used for simulating how informality occurs under land markets ruled by orthodox or heterodox regulations and taxation, how arguments are brought forward by opposing parties debating controversial issues in a land court style situation, and how collaborative solutions may be found in a simulated land clinic.

*LMISR Course Handbook (2015)

*Please note that for the LMISR Course Handbook, the information in the handbook is updated every year, hence minor changes should be expected. 


The diploma is issued by IHS.

“The course gave us a broader understanding of how the land market operates, the causes of informality, how other countries respond to it, and the various efforts exerted by different stakeholders to understand its existence in society. It guided us from the start to the formulation of our own action plans.”

Part of the valedictory speech by Tabitha Siwale of Tanzania
Former Minister of Urban Development
Member of Parliament
Chief executive officer of WAT – Human Settlement Trust


IHS partners with UN-Habitat ( to run this course. Academics and practitioners from these institutions stimulate creative thinking; participants are exposed to context and experience they bring from a wide variety of countries around the world.

How to apply

Interested in participating in this post-graduate diploma course? Make use of the IHS online application system. Find out more about the application procedure and admission requirements.


If you are still searching for a sponsor, have a look at our section on available funding opportunities.

If your question is related to the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP), please refer to this webpage before inquiring further.