With the expansion of cities and urban infrastructure comes a growing need to better understand the relationship between people and land in urban and peri-urban areas.

Urbanization is a global phenomenon. Countries throughout the world are rapidly urbanizing, particularly in the developing world, and for the first time in human history the majority of people today live in urban areas [1]. By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas. The most urbanized regions include Northern America (82% of the population living in urban areas in 2014), Latin America and the Caribbean (80%) and Europe (73%). In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural, but are urbanizing faster than the other regions and are projected to become 56 and 64% urban, respectively, by 2050 [2].

The causes of urbanization include natural population growth and rural-urban migration, which can result from under-employment in rural areas, poor agricultural conditions, reclassification of rural to urban land, conflicts in rural areas, and from the prospect of better economic opportunities in urban areas. The consequences of rural-urban migration include the densification of certain parts of the city, often resulting in informal settlements. Urban sprawl and the expansion of the urban footprint may also result—either through formal or informal processes.   

Urban population projections highlight the increasing demand for land, both for housing and food production, as well as for a variety of economic activities related to urban land.  However, since land is a limited resource and increasingly unavailable within cities across the world, intensified pressures on urban land can lead to a shortage of land and skyrocketing land values. To the urban poor, this means that access to land becomes increasingly difficult, be it for housing, food production, or trading. Lack of access to land can result in “informal” or unregulated land management and occupation.

Meanwhile, as competition for land intensifies, nearly 70% of land systems across the globe remain undocumented [3]. Particularly in developing countries, enormous surfaces are covered under social tenures, informal and overlapping rights. Land regularization is not a feasible option to the majority of informal dwellers due to financial, technical and judicial barriers. As a result, rapid urbanization is often associated with a decrease of tenure security, particularly for the urban poor. This can negatively impact millions of people.

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living acknowledged the increasing rates of forced evictions with impunity, the expansion of informal settlements (often without basic services like water, sewage, electricity or roads), the development of unaffordable rental properties, and the tenure insecurity of millions of people [4].

With security of tenure, people are more likely to invest in their families, homes, and futures [5]. When households and communities have secure tenure, they are more willing and able to engage in housing and settlement development processes. When land tenure is secure, land can be a cornerstone for economic growth and an incentive for investment, but when land rights are insecure, this can lead to conflicts, instability and the exclusion of vulnerable groups, such as women, Indigenous Peoples and the poor.

 

 

 

Indicators

Land tenure rights recognition (urban) measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Land use planning guides expansion in the largest city measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Population living in slums is the proportion of the urban population living in slum households.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Poverty gap at urban poverty line is the mean shortfall from the poverty line (counting the nonpoor as having zero shortfall) as a percentage of the national urban poverty line.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Process for urban expansion clear, public, respects rights measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Urban group rights recognition in informal areas measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Urban land tenure rights are (i) recognized and (ii) protected in practice measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Urban population refers to the share (%) of people living in Urban areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Rural Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Mapping

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Population living in slums is the proportion of the urban population living in slum households.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Ranking

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Urban land tenure rights are (i) recognized and (ii) protected in practice measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

Media

Latest News

Land rights in Bangladesh
5 December 2017
Bangladesh

With a population of 163 million people and an area of only 147,570 square kilometers, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Land scarcity, insecure tenure, and other factors have contributed to a high volume of land conflicts. Such problems are compounded by Bangladesh’s weak land governance systems, extensive informal settlements in urban areas and widespread landlessness in rural areas.

24 November 2017
Canada

With the new housing strategy, the government has committed to halving "chronic homelessness" by 2028

MUMBAI, Nov 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Canada's move to recognise housing as a fundamental right in its new national housing strategy marks a historic step towards ending homelessness, a senior United Nations official said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the long-awaited housing strategy on Wednesday in response to U.N. criticism of Canada's "persistent housing crisis".

Demolition crews destroy property during Operation Murambatsvina, Zimbabwe
20 November 2017
Africa
Zimbabwe

In June 2005, demolition crews destroyed hundreds of homes in an impoverished suburb of Mutare, under ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Move the Rubbish), the government of Zimbabwe’s campaign to forcibly clear ‘slums’ across the country. Many of those made homeless joined housing cooperatives to collectively purchase land, on which to rebuild their lives, only to have that land taken by Zanu-PF supporters with backing from government ministers.

9 October 2017
India

In the world's second most populous country, there is an estimated shortage of about 20 million homes in urban areas

CHENNAI, India, Oct 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sustainable, low-cost homes must become the default option for builders and buyers amid increasing pressure on land and the environment, according to a leading architect in India, which has among the most densely populated cities on the planet.

Latest Blogs

Global

From 11-14 November in Bahrain, decisions are being made that will influence priorities of governments around the world.

In September 2015, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, 193 countries endorsed the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – known as the SDGs or Global Goals. This collection of 17 ambitious goals and 169 targets form a framework to address the global challenge of eradicating poverty. 

Global
Africa
Americas
Asia
Europe

By Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Head: Land and Agriculture; Lead: Human Rights and Investment, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

 

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Global

By Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Chairman of the Advisory Board of CCSI, University Professor at Columbia University, and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Latest Events

18 September 2017

Location

Online
United States
US
Global

Presented by: Land Portal Foundation, Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Network on Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources

Please register here.

23 August 2017 to 25 August 2017

Location

Curitiba, Brasil Curitiba
Brazil
BR
Latin America and the Caribbean
Brazil
Portugal
Spain

Nos dias 23,24 e 25 de agosto do presente ano, levar-se-á a cabo o TERCEIRO CONGRESSO IBEROAMERICANO DE SOLO URBANO na cidade de Curitiba, Brasil, com o tema “O solo na nova agenda urbana”, organizado de maneira conjunta pelo Colégio Mexiquence AC, a Universidade Federal do Paraná, a Universidade Pontifícia Católica do Paraná e a Universidade Positivo.

Paul Saad Flickr - Pretoria
15 August 2017 to 17 August 2017

Location

Pretoria
South Africa
ZA
Africa

The GLTN’s Urban CSO Cluster of UN-Habitat and Habitat for Humanity’s Solid Ground campaign are convening a multi-stakeholder regional conference on land governance and management and kindly invite you to attend the upcoming conference titled Partnership for Action: Improving Land Governance and Management in Africa. The conference will present the opportunity for stakeholders from multiple sectors to come together to explore approaches to land governance towards inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.

9 May 2017 to 12 May 2017

Location

Centro Brasileiro para Conservação da Natureza e Desenvolvimento Sustentável
Rua Christovam Lopes de Carvalho nº27, Sala 801
Viçosa, Minas Gerais
Brazil
BR
Brazil

Com intuito de promover conhecimentos e experiência desenvolvidas na recuperação e degradação ambiental nos diversos biomas brasileiros, o evento pretende contribuir com a difícil tarefa de restauração desses biomas.

Debates

Closed
23 January 2017 to 24 February 2017
Facilitators
Raquel Ludermir Bernardino
Maria Luisa Alvarado
Latin America and the Caribbean
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Paraguay
Peru
Closed
6 April 2016 to 12 April 2016
Facilitators
Deborah Fulton
Global

 

Dear all,

Urbanization and the transformation of agriculture, food systems and rural spaces present challenges and opportunities for inclusive growth, poverty eradication, economic, environmental and social sustainability, and food security and nutrition. As a result, there is an increasing focus on rural-urban linkages and approaches which can address these issues in a holistic and integrated manner in order to fully address the challenges and maximize the opportunities.

Organizations

Library

Displaying 1 - 6 of 2825
Reports & Research
Journal Articles & Books
December 2017
Rwanda
Africa

Land change in Kigali, Rwanda, is examined using Intensity Analysis, which measures the temporal stationarity of changes among categories. Maps for 1981, 2002 and 2014 were produced that show the land categories Built, Vegetated and Other, which is composed mainly of croplands and bare surfaces. Land change accelerated from the first time interval (1981–2002) to the second time interval (2002–2014), as increased human and economic activities drove land transformation.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2017
Italy

The relationship between sustainable urban development and environmental sustainability is crucial to every strategy of urban transformation, renewal and regeneration. In particular, urban regeneration entails programmes of urban transformation that involve the rehabilitation of existing parts of a city, re-use previously built-up area and abandoned buildings, and redevelop blighted urban spaces to increase urban sustainability.

Reports & Research
Training Resources & Tools
December 2017

Durban is located within a global biodiversity hotspot, and still contains a wealth of biodiversity. Some of this is protected in nature reserves, but much of it is in private hands or in communal lands on the city’s periphery. City managers are divided over the level of attention that should be given to preserving these remaining natural areas.

The Partnership for Action Conference: Summary of Conference Outcomes cover image
Conference Papers & Reports
November 2017
Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa

 

Reports & Research
October 2017
Mozambique

O Perfil Rápido do Sector Urbano para Sustentabilidade (RUSPS) é um processo de avaliação rápida e proactiva de necessidades urbanas e lacunas de capacitação institucional a níveis nacional e das cidades. Esta avaliação está sendo implementada actualmente em mais de 20 países em África e Estados árabes. A metodologia RUSPS consiste em três fases: (1) uma abordagem participativa de perfil urbano, a níveis nacional e local, com enfoque na