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Home » June 2010

Developing learning and teaching materials to make markets work for the poor

By Abueng Matlapeng

Since its establishment in 2006 Urban LandMark's1 quest has been to influence policies and practices in South Africa to improve poor people's access to well-located urban land by making market, land planning and management systems work better, giving effect and meaning to the idea of people having a right to land. To this end Urban LandMark has produced a significant research collection. These reports are available on the website at www.urbanlandmark.org.za.

The focus of professional development, one of Urban LandMark's themes, is to ensure that industry professionals incorporate making markets work for the poor (MMW4P) ideas in their work. One of the core functions of this theme is therefore to promote a keener understanding and appreciation of challenges faced by the urban poor in their attempt to gain access to urban land markets. This allows professionals to evolve better strategies of addressing these challenges and lower barriers to entry, among others. To this end, activities in the professional development theme provide a conduit for development and use of Urban LandMark's empirical work.

Launch of Urban Landmark teaching learning material

In 2009, staff in the professional development theme area set out to make Urban LandMark's research more accessible by developing teaching learning material (case studies) from selected Urban LandMark research reports and projects. Seven case studies were produced and subsequently distributed to guests at a cocktail function hosted by Urban LandMark on April 22, 2010 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand.

Speakers at the launch included Dr. Mark Napier, the director of Urban LandMark, and Alistair Clacherty of Clacherty and Associates. Mark provided an overview of Urban LandMark's activities and briefly outlined the rationale for the case study materials project, its aim and expected users. Alistair Clacherty, who was responsible for converting the research reports into case studies, briefly described the case study approach and how the material can be used in teaching. He also provided some insight into Urban LandMark's approach to urban land markets, from the outsider's perspective2.

Each guest left the function with copies of the material in various formats, for their own use and to share with colleagues. This material, together with a facilitator's guide describing how the material can be used, is available at www.urbanlandmark.org.za.

The teaching learning materials and case studies produced to date are all based on South African experiences. The case studies are approximately 10 pages in length and include a brief summary of learning outcomes, a list of recommendations and detailed information on issues covered in the research reports.

The following is a list of case studies produced to date:

1. Voices of the Poor: Access to Urban Land: A Case Study3
In 2007 Urban LandMark undertook a series of consultations as part of the Voices of the Poor project. Four workshops, attended mostly by civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations, were conducted. This case study presents the perspectives and experiences of these organisations with regard to access to urban land by the poor, as derived from the consultations.

2. Co-Existing Urban Land-Use Management Practices4
The case study is based on findings from a research study that investigated 'land biographies' in three areas in Gauteng, namely Thokoza, Doornfontein and Diepkloof. It draws on research that investigated how urban land is claimed, used or divided and the various land-use management practices that exist around the various and sometimes competing land uses.

3. Urban Land Development in Practice: Developers and Municipalities Share Experiences5
This case study draws on research that sought to understand the process of urban land development in practice, from the perspectives of developers and municipalities.

4. Land Governance and Its Influence on Access to Urban Land6
Based on research undertaken into the experiences of a poor community attempting to access land through formal channels in peri-urban South Africa, the case study analyses the difficulties the community experienced in the process.

5. Informal Urban Land Markets and the Poor7
The case study is based on findings from research that investigated the extra-legal ways in which poor people access, trade and hold urban land.

6. Informal Land Registration in Urban Areas8
This case study examines specific examples of localised and informal land registration practices.

7. Access to Land in Poorer Parts of Towns and Cities9
Based on research that investigated the extra-legal ways in which poor people access, trade and hold urban land, this research included in-depth interviews with 74 households in nine settlements in three South African metropolitan areas (Cape Town in the Western Cape, Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, and eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal).

1
Urban LandMark a DFID-funded non-governmental organisation dedicated to making urban land markets work for the poor
2
Clacherty and associates were not involved in any Urban LandMark primary research
3
The research was conducted by Warren Smit, commissioned by Urban LandMark
4
This case study is based on a research study undertaken by Colin Marx and Margot Rubin with Progressus Research and Development, commissioned by Urban LandMark
5
The research was undertaken by the Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Pretoria, commissioned by Urban LandMark
6
The research was conducted by a team of researchers pulled together by the World Bank. The work was the result of a request by Mogale City Municipality for technical assistance on the design and implementation of integrated housing and agriculture projects.
7
It is based on a research study undertaken by the Isandla Institute, Stephen Berrisford Consulting and Progressus Research and Development, commissioned by Urban LandMark.
8
The research study was undertaken by Margot Rubin and Lauren Royston, commissioned by the Urban LandMark.
9
The research was undertaken by the Isandla Institute, Stephen Berrisford Consulting and Progressus Research and Development, commissioned by Urban LandMark.