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Towards effective state interventions to improve access by the poor to urban land markets

Article image

Mark Napier, Nana Ntombela

01 January 2006

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Urban LandMark


Urban LandMark Librarian, Mark Napier

Working paper

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Urban LandMark

South Africa

The main objective of this paper is to investigate and discuss ways in which the state should intervene around urban land issues, within the context of its relationship to the private sector, in order to improve the access of poorer and excluded sectors of South African urban society to land, housing, and services. South African government infrastructure delivery during the last decade has been dominated by direct service delivery and the subsidization of poor households. However, significant urban restructuring has not taken place partly as a result of entrenched land interests in urban areas, major challenges faced by the state in altering the regulatory environment, and the affordability of better located urban land for housing.


New policy statements emanating from government indicate a key shift in emphasis towards broader interventions in markets aimed at shifting patterns of property ownership (thus also changing the spatial patterns and density matrices of residential development). The outcome of these interventions is a more equitable and efficient city which contributes to economic growth at regional and global levels, and in which there is class and ethnic integration. The paper discusses state-driven market-related mechanisms which are emerging in South Africa with reference to practice developed in different parts of the world.


Abstract based directly on source.


Website References

Built environment


Economic growth


Government programmes

Household costs



Human settlements




Poverty & inequality

Service delivery

South Africa



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