Spatial Inequality in Times of Urban Transition: Complex Land Markets in Uganda and Somaliland

This report presents analysis of research on ‘Spatial Inequalities in Times of Urban Transitions’ in 4 cities in Uganda and Somaliland. The research was undertaken from December 2017 to September 2019 by the UK Department for International Development, and the cities covered in the study are Kampala and Arua in Uganda and Hargeysa and Berbera in Somaliland.

The different cities covered in the research presented notable variation, but also bore comparable similarities, and the project underscores a clear and pressing need for proper functioning of urban land markets in order to reduce spatial inequalities. They recommend policy interventions that support the institutionalization of urban land markets as a primary agency to expedite the city’s growth potential, since it ensures to some degree, equitable access to land.

The report proposes a number of interventions, including:

  • The need to acknowledge the value of diversity of land transactions within each city, and to work with different actors within transaction types will broaden the knowledge of different elements of the land market across different actors.
  • The need to stimulate public debate on the implication of information asymmetries in different types of land transactions will not only provide valuable information on land values to buyers who wish to engage in the land market but will also benefit sellers in different parts of the city to gain an understanding of different ‘market’ values of their land.
  • The need to ensure land policy and regulations that reflect the social and cultural dimensions of land markets and land transactions by enhancing the transparency of land policies and prioritizing deprived neighbourhoods.
  • The need to monitor trends and dynamics in the spatial development of cities by working with the private real-estate sector to get a better understanding of land supply and with land/home owners and their tenants to understand demand for land.
  • The need to develop and integrate land management, urban planning and housing policies as part of a longer-term strategy to address spatial injustice and imbalances in access to urban land and housing.

Click on the links below to access the full and summary reports.

Full Report

Summary report

Briefing Notes
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