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Urbanisation and Infrastructure Development

Urbanisation and Infrastructure Development

There are various ways in which rural and urban areas are interlinked. People originating from rural areas are moving to cities and rural areas are being swallowed by the expanding cities at a rapid pace. At the same time, the (new) city dwellers also have an impact on rural areas. This poses new questions and challenges for land governance. Read more on urban land governance and infrastructure development below.


LANDac Resources

Brief – Displacement, De-urbanization and COVID-19 (2020)

Following the Webinar Series and Online Discussion on Land Rights Implications of COVID-19, LANDac, together with Landesa, the Land Portal Foundation, New America and the Norwegian Refugee Council published a Brief Series on the impact of COVID-19 on Land and Housing. This brief (one out of four) focuses on the impact of Covid-19 on displacement and de-urbanization.


PhD Dissertation – Making a Donor City: The Contested Trajectories of Urban Development in Beira City, Mozambique (2019)

By Murtah Shannon (2019).
Making a donor city explores the novel politics of development and struggles over urban space which emerge when a heterogeneous African city becomes targeted by massive investments in infrastructure and urban planning by various international donors. Set in Beira city, Mozambique, the country’s opposition stronghold, this study details how a once neglected underdog of the postcolonial state has recently emerged as a new frontier of international interest. [read more]


Urban Land Grabs in Africa (Built Environment, Vol. 44, No. 4) (2019)

Africa is rapidly urbanizing. New dynamics of investments and mobilities ensure expansive urbanization, transforming the continent’s urban land and built environment. These changes also impact future prospects for sustainable living conditions for African urban dwellers. This issue of Built Environment has collected articles that observe these changes, in order to explore whether they are indeed leading to ‘urban land grabs’, which take place in new forms of commodification and speculation of land and properties. As shown in all the articles of this issue, the authors argue that the far-reaching impact of increased investments and mobilities, leading to commodification and land speculation as well as the urban dwellers’ agency to navigate the impact, deserve more attention in discussions on sustainable and inclusive urban development in Africa. 

Ref: Steel, G., Van Noorloos, F., & Otsuki, K. (2019). Urban land grabs in Africa?. Built Environment, 44(4), 389-396.


LANDac CITY Forum (2017 – 2018)

In 2017 and 2018, LANDac organised the CITYforum, in order to bring together professionals currently working on ways to make investments in urban development more inclusive and sustainable. In the past years, investments intended to help cities grow or become climate-resilient are often designed abroad and may come at the expense of local residents’ needs and wishes. Through the CITYforum expert meeting, LANDac aimed to generate new ideas and new partnerships between those working in the Netherlands and on the ground in cities where investments are taking place. [read more]


LANDac CITY Forum Expert Meeting 2018

On June 27, 2018, prior to the LANDac Annual International Conference, LANDac brought together 22 individuals from 16 organisations currently working on ways to make investments in urban development more inclusive and sustainable. Because in the past years, we have seen that investments intended to help cities grow or become climate-resilient are often designed abroad and may come at the expense of local residents’ needs and wishes. Through the CITYforum expert meeting, LANDac aimed to generate new ideas and new partnerships between those working in the Netherlands and on the ground in cities where investments are taking place. [read more]


Roundtable report – Inclusive urban development in Metro Manila (2017)

This local roundtable discussion was an open discussion about the land-related urban development issues specific to Manila, and about the plethora of “plans” which are  currently being designed for the city (such as the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan). During this  discussion, participants were asked to identify and define  priority issues. The outputs of this roundtable were used as input for the next CITYforum meeting in 2018. [read more]


LANDac CITY Forum Expert Meeting 2017

On 18th and 19th September 2017, a group of experts on urban development joined a multistakeholder meeting in Utrecht, the Netherlands to discuss new ways to optimise the link between land issues and inclusive urbanisation in Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, the Philippines. In an era where vast amounts of capital are being directed towards making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, this coalition came together to reflect on the role of Dutch actors in facilitating and enabling community engagement abroad and to design an agenda for action in the two cities. This report outlines some of the key findings from the meeting, and the future priorities for action. [read more]


Fabrica Ciadad: LANDac research, policy and practice in urban land governance (Quito) (2017)

On Monday October 17th 2017, LANDac organized an event on land governance, with a focus on linking research and policy. The event was organized together with Pakhuis de Zwijger within their Fabrica Cuidad programme, and was held in Centro Cultural Benjamin Carrion, Quito. LANDac’s main focus – new pressures and competing claims on land and natural resources – was highlighted, including important parallels between the rural land grab debate and urban discussions around land governance. Read more on the event in this report.


LANDac Policy Brief #5 – Urban Expansion and compulsory land acquisition in Hue, Vietnam: Challenges and ways toward fair urbanization (2017)

By Nguyen Quang Phuc (2017).
Land acquisition for urban expansion in Vietnam occurs through compulsory acquisition by the State and in line with existing laws and regulations of the country. However, the ways in which the processes of land acquisition take place in practice are often unbalanced and unfair and thus do not align with the principles of sustainable development. [read more]


Public Event – The New Urban Agenda: How do we achieve safe, resilient and inclusive cities in Africa, Asia & Latin America? (2017)

Cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America are going through rapid changes: they are expanding, engulfing more and more peri-urban and agricultural land; they are densifying and gentrifying, leading to processes of inclusion and exclusion within the city; and completely new urban centres are being built from scratch. A central aspect in these processes is access to and competition for scarce land resources. In the this episode of New Urban Agenda at Pakhuis de Zwijger several researchers and partners affiliated LANDac, Utrecht University (SGPL), CEDLA and VNG International pitched their projects addressing urban land development in various cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. [read more]


LANDac Annual International Conference 2016 – Land governance in the context of urbanisation and climate change: Linking the rural and the urban (2016)

The 2016 LANDac Annual International Land Conference was titled ‘Land governance in the context of urbanisation and climate change: Linking the rural and the urban’. The many contributions illustrated the various ways in which rural and urban areas are interlinked. People originating from rural areas are moving to cities and rural areas are being swallowed by the expanding cities at a rapid pace. At the same time, the (new) city dwellers also have an impact on rural areas. This poses new questions and challenges for land governance. Read the conference report here.


Other Resources

Reference Guide on infrastructure set against land governance (2017)

The past years Both ENDS and its partners have witnessed a surge in large infrastructure projects including dams, mines, highways, airports, ports, land reclamation, canals and urban renewal projects. Yet, the land assigned to these projects is often inhabited and used for agricultural purposes. Therefore, land governance issues play an important role in these infrastructure projects. Yet, we see that knowledge on infrastructure and land governance falls short in many cases. In order to learn from and get inspired by other cases and understand how international frameworks and guidelines try to protect land rights, we have set up this reference guide: a list of must-reads on land governance and infrastructure. Read more on the reference guide here.


Utrecht University and partners – Rurban Africa (2012 – 2016)

Rurban Africa is a long-term research programme and a collaboration between Utrecht University (IDS), University of Copenhagen, IIED, University de Toulouse le Mirail, Loughborough University, National University of Rwanda, University of Agriculture Tanzania, University of Dschang Cameroun, and the University of Ghana. The goal of the Rurban Africa project is to investigate and document the profound and extremely dynamic transformations that affect rural and urban areas, agricultural production systems and livelihoods, migration and mobility and the growth of urban centres. Read more about the research programme here.


Pathways to Sustainability: Transforming Infrastructures for Sustainable Cities (2018 – )

In 2018 Utrecht University’s Pathways to Sustainability launched the research hub ‘Transforming Infrastructures for Sustainable Cities’. Developing sustainable cities strongly depends on socio-technical systems that provide energy, water, mobility, waste and communication services. These systems are difficult to change and set the default for many decades. An interdisciplinary team of researchers together with societal partners focuses on the key question: how do we envision and identify pathways to cities and infrastructures of the future? Read more about the work of the hub here.


News Items

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