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The interaction between informal land markets and rural urban migration

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Dorrit Posel, Colin Marx

01 March 2011

Urban LandMark


Urban LandMark Librarian

Research report

Urban LandMark

South Africa

Although informal land markets and migration are defining features of South Africa’s cities, very little is known about how informal land markets influence migration patterns and how migration patterns shape informal land markets. Findings from earlier research by the Isandla Institute and Stephen Berrisford Consulting highlight that certain types of households are more prevalent in some land markets than others indicating interaction between the nature of households and informal land markets. In turn, differential access to urban land markets may help to explain why individuals migrate "temporarily", when this migration becomes "permanent", and whether migrants are joined by other family members in the destination household.


The overall study sets out to examine the interaction of informal land markets and migration with the objective of providing new insights on how the processes might constitute and mediate each other. This report begins this process by focusing on the migrant’s characteristics.


This research report usefully interrogates the 'temporary' nature of individual migration in the post-apartheid period, within the context of access to urban land markets, and investigates how migrant workers transact in informal land markets, whether households reconfigure after land market transactions, and whether the ability to transact successfully in informal land markets influences the nature of migration.


Abstract based directly on source.


Website References

Built environment




Human settlements

Integrated rural development


Land acquisition







South Africa

Tenure security


Urban economics

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