Land and services for the urban poor in rapidly urbanizing countries

Gordon McGranahan, Diana Mitlin, David Satterthwaite

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Despite the many advantages urban settlements provide, their poorest residents often live in exceptionally unpleasant and unhealthy conditions. This was so when industrial urbanization started in earnest in the 19th century and continues to this day. In low-and middle-income countries, it is the case for the 900 million or so urban inhabitants of what UN-Habitat (2003a) refers to as ‘slums’.1 These deprived urban-dwellers typically live in worse environments than their income alone would dictate. Their demands for shelter and environmental services are not well met by markets, which favour areas where property rights are well defi ned and people are willing and able to pay for the full range of household services. These same shelter demands also tend to be poorly met by governments, whose public services rarely reach more than a small fraction of those living in slums and whose regulations often work against solutions that the urban poor can afford themselves. Perhaps it should be no surprise that in an era where market-and state-led models compete for pre-eminence, the shelter problems of the urban poor have rarely been addressed effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Global Frontier
Subtitle of host publicationUrbanization, Poverty and Environment in the 21st Century
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781849773157
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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