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Urban Land Markets

How the poor access, hold and trade land

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Colin Marx, Lauren Royston, Michael Kihato

01 January 2007

Urban LandMark


Urban LandMark Librarian

Research report

Urban LandMark

South Africa

This research project investigated the mainly extra-legal ways in which poor people access, trade and hold urban land in different types of settlements in the three South African metropolitan areas of Cape Town, Ekurhuleni and eThekwini.


The types of settlements examined through a case study approach were informal settlements, recently allocated Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing projects, backyard shacks, an area under a traditional authority and an area of local council housing.

Research reports and resources

Research findings booklet [788KB] by Colin Marx and Lauren Royston
Synthesis report [1.26MB] by Colin Marx
Review of relevant legislation [255KB] by Michael Kihato
Literature review [653KB] by Colin Marx
List of references [463KB]
Research method and survey design [642KB] by Colin Marx


This was the first of a number of what came to be referred to as "operation of the market studies", including ones in Malawi and Mozambique.

Built environment

Human settlements

Informal settlements


Land access

Land markets

Land tenure

Land transactions

Metropolitan municipalities

Poverty & inequality

South Africa


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