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Informal land registration in urban areas

A case study

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Margot Rubin , Lauren Royston , Alistair Clacherty

01 January 2010


Urban LandMark Librarian

Learning material

Urban LandMark

South Africa

This case study examines specific examples of localised and informal land registration practices in South Africa. Such informal land registration often arises where people do not have access to the formal state system of land registration. But as the desire and need to gain access to urban land, to secure rights in relation to that land and also to trade land, a localised registration system that meets these needs tends to emerge.


The research study was undertaken by Margot Rubin and Lauren Royston, commissioned by the Urban LandMark. The case study presents examples of informal land registration practices drawn from three areas in South Africa. The final component of this learning material includes a summary of the key issues that were covered in the original research, and recommendations arising from it.


This resource is part of a larger collection of case studies developed by Urban LandMark to translate research findings into learning materials.  


Website References

Cape Town



Human settlements

Informal settlements


Land access

Land management

Land registration

Land transactions


Poverty & inequality

South Africa

Tenure security

Title deed


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