eldis.org. October 2014. With World Habitat Day on October 6, Dr. Mark Napier provides a timely insight on the urgent need to address unequal access to land and property. Specifically he reflects on how African cities grow and the way poor people can integrate themselves into urban economies – as explored in more detail in his recently released book, Trading Places: accessing land in African cities.
Debates about housing and land in African cities have tended to take place around a few key themes: rapid urbanisation, lack of urban planning, limited investment in urban infrastructure, the formation and perpetuation of slums, inappropriate building standards, insecure tenure and evictions, and poor living conditions, to mention a few. The Millennium Development Goals gave high priority to the issue by aiming to improve the lives of many people living in slums. More recently the discussion has grown to encompass the predicted effects of climate change, vulnerability to a variety of urban disasters, and what to do about this at a city-wide level. Many agencies are mulling this over when discussing how to frame the Post-2015 Agenda.
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