"Urban LandMark" is short for the Urban Land Markets Programme Southern Africa. Based in Pretoria, the programme was set up in May 2006 with seven years of funding from the UK's Department for International Development until March 2013. The initiative is now hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

Urban LandMark was designed to play a short-term, catalytic role. Between 2006 and 2013 it was financially managed by FinMark Trust. FinMark Trust is already applying the 'making markets work for the poor' thinking in financial and housing markets, which are relevant to the urban land markets question.

What we do

Urban LandMark is working to make urban land markets work for the poor by:

  • Defining what 'making markets work for the poor' means for urban land and developing a distinctive voice for this approach,
  • Mobilising diverse players, including the private sector and civil society, to come up with innovative ways to achieve this objective,
  • Promoting policy dialogue between people , and
  • Bringing about change in government policy and implementation, and in private sector praxis.

Five areas of activity

Research 

Research projects cover four sectors: people, place, governance and the market, in an integrated way.

Dissemination 

Research is disseminated widely to industry, government, NGOs and other interested people.

Support 

Individuals affiliated with Urban LandMark are available to government and the private sector to take part in task teams.

Professional development 

To ensure industry professionals incorporate MMW4P ideas in their work, we assist with the development of courses and academic exchange programmes as well as forums and seminars.

Networking and advocacy 

We develop and maintain relationships with industry and government players, and build partnerships with academic institutions and organisations, local and international, working on urban land issues to share information and participate in joint activities.

Urban LandMark Resources

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Journal Articles & Books
December 2013
Africa

Trading Places is about urban land markets in African cities. It explores how local practice, land governance and markets interact to shape the ways that people at society's margins access land to build their livelihoods.

The authors argue that the problem is not with markets per se, but in the unequal ways in which market access is structured. They make the case for more equal access to urban land markets, not only for ethical reasons, but because it makes economic sense for growing cities and towns.

Training Resources & Tools
December 2012
Africa
South Africa

Urban land markets have a profound effect on how well poor households are able to access the jobs, amenities and services offered in the city. But often the way in which this market works frustrate attempts to open up better located living and business opportunities for poorer urban households and communities, despite government policies and programmes intended to address these challenges. The challenge in South Africa is even larger because of worsening poverty and inequality, and the continuing growth of cities through urbanisation.

Reports & Research
May 2011
South Africa

This case study draws on research that examined the formal urban housing market in South Africa. The research study was carried out by Genesis Analytics on behalf of Urban LandMark. This case study draws extensively on that work, which is gratefully acknowledged. 

Reports & Research
April 2011
Southern Africa

This case study draws on a regional study of urban land markets in southern Africa. The research was undertaken by Resetselemang Leduka of the Institute of Southern African Studies, National University of Lesotho, and commissioned by Urban LandMark and UN-HABITAT

Reports & Research
March 2011
Eastern Africa

This case study draws on an analysis of urban land markets in the East African region. The research was undertaken by Paul Syagga, School of the Built Environment, University of Nairobi, and commissioned by Urban LandMark.

Manuals & Guidelines
December 2010
Africa

This Handbook introduces key economic and related concepts explaining the functioning of urban land markets. You will find in this Handbook tools for engaging in a critical analysis of conventional economics, particularly in the understanding of how African urban land markets work. Of great importance is the understanding of how land use, supply and demand unfold in African context. It provides a basis for strengthening urban policy in ways that enable poorer people in African cities to access well-located living and work spaces.

Training Resources & Tools
December 2010
Africa

The handbook introduces key economic and related concepts explaining the functioning of urban land markets. By introducing key classical economic concepts, the handbook provides foundational economic terms that are often referred to in relation to urban land markets. In doing this, we do not imply that African land markets should or ought to 'fit' into neo-classical economic theories, nor do we propose that 'perfect' markets exist.

Reports & Research
July 2010
Global

This case study draws on research into some of the processes through which people access, trade and hold land in poorer areas of towns and cities. The research was undertaken by the Isandla Institute, Stephen Berrisford Consulting and Progressus Research and Development, commissioned by Urban LandMark.

Reports & Research
June 2010
South Africa

This case study draws on research that investigated informal urban land registration practices in South Africa. The research study was undertaken by Margot Rubin and Lauren Royston, commissioned by the Urban LandMark.

Reports & Research
May 2010
Global

This case study draws on research that investigated how people access, trade and hold land in poorer and less formal parts of three metropolitan areas. It is based on a research study undertaken by the Isandla Institute, Stephen Berrisford Consulting and Progressus Research and Development, commissioned by Urban LandMark.