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Land Rights & Urban Informal Settlements: Policy Routes Forward

  • St Antony's College 62 Woodstock Road Oxford, England, OX2 6EY United Kingdom (map)

The Oxford Urbanists are proud to announce the first event in a series of collaborations with the Cities That Work team of the International Growth Centre on policy discussions for urban issues in the developing world.

Amidst a backdrop of rapid population growth, variable migration patterns, and the shifting effects of a changing climate, designing and implementing policies for urban areas has emerged as an essential exercise for anyone serious about development in all its forms. The aim of this series is to frankly engage with the all-important and often contentious debates surrounding these issues and try to find sustainable and inclusive ways forward.

This event will explore the nexus of land rights and informal settlements in urban settings. Panelists will be responding to a set list of questions, and audience participation is highly encouraged!

Discussion will include, but not be limited to, the following questions:

  1. In what contexts are informal settlements in low-income cities best characterised as poverty traps, or as springboards for social and economic integration into a city? What does this mean for policy?
  2. In what contexts are different policy options appropriate for informal settlements, particularly in central urban areas? Can land sharing solutions offer a promising alternative to upgrading or resettlement?
  3. What are the barriers to effective policy in addressing the problems associated with informal settlements?
  4. How can policymakers deal with the issue of competing claims over land ownership in informal settlements?
  5. In order to ensure future urban growth occurs in a more planned and orderly manner, how can policymakers most effectively enable low-cost provision of housing to poor urban residents?

The event will be chaired by Michael Blake, Cities That Work team at the IGC.

Panelists include:

  • Professor Stefan Dercon (Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government; Chief Economist, UK Department for International Development)
  • Professor Doug Gollin (Professor of Development Economics, Oxford Department of International Development)
  • Dr. Andreza de Souza Santos (Post-Doctoral Researcher, Oxford Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society [COMPAS])

The event will be held in the Zaha Hadid-designed Investcorp Theatre of St. Antony's College. Following the panel, there will be a reception where we will introduce in more detail the Oxford Urbanists, our current work, visions for the future, and opportunities for engagement. This session will be very informal and we do hope you will stick around!