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Managing urban land: a guide for municipal practitioners

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2009 Urban LandMark Conference

Opportunities in a Falling Market
What's been happening at the low end of the urban land market?

28 - 29 October 2009, Midrand, South Africa

Falling land and property prices present both a challenge and an opportunity. Although the end of the current recession appears to be in sight, the land market is likely to take some time to recover. What opportunities does such a market present to government, the private sector, and to communities trying to establish themselves in urban areas? How can access to the current land market contribute to poverty reduction and the integration of people into the city?

When times are good, competition for well located land is brisk. Poorer people looking for land to live and trade on find it difficult to compete in the market, whether assisted by the state or not. The state governs land in the public interest, and so needs to secure opportunities for all urban residents to have a stake in the urban economy.

When property prices dip, the market opens up for a time. Lower land costs in down-times present a particularly useful opportunity to secure better land for housing and small businesses. The extra productive capacity of the private sector can also be usefully employed, as witnessed by the massive investment in transport and other infrastructure ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Are we perhaps ignoring this opportunity to secure access to land for use by the urban poor?

This event hosted by Urban LandMark, a making markets work programme funded by UKaid from DFID, reviewed recent developments at the lower end of the urban land market. The event examined the question of what the urban players should be doing at this time to secure better and stronger access for poor people in urban land markets.

Programme and presentations

Day 1: Wednesday 28 October
Facilitators: Kubeshni Govender Jones and Carmel Joseph
08:30 - 09:00 Registration
09:00 - 09:20 Welcome (DFID): DFID Advisor
09:20 - 10:00 Setting the Scene: Mark Napier, Director Urban LandMark [2.22 MB]
10:00 - 10:30 TEA
10:30 - 12:45 Session 1: Property Market / Economic trends
10:30 - 11:10 Anthony Miller, MD Lightstone: Current property trends at the low end of the Market [477 KB]
11:10 - 11:40 Kecia Rust, FinMark Trust: Trends in RDP and Related Markets [507 KB]
11:45 - 12:15 Rob McGaffin, Urban LandMark: Trends in the Commercial market [2.05 MB]
12:15 - 12:45 Panel Discussions: Panel - Pierre Venter, Caroline Kihato, Anthony Miller, Kecia Rust and Mark Souris
12:45 - 13:45 LUNCH
13:45 - 16:00 Session 2: Governing Markets
13:45 - 14:15 Setting the Scene: Stephen Berrisford
14:15 - 14:45 Allison Hickey Tshangana, PDG/Isandla Institute: Property Rates Study [215 KB]
14:45 - 15:00 Question & Answers session
15:00 - 15:15 TEA
15:15 - 16:00 Expropriation Panel Debate: Saul du Toit, Erwin Rode, Stephen Berrisford, Durkje Gilfillan & Neville Chainee, with Rob Mcgaffin as Commentator
16:00 - 16:30 Questions to Panel
Day 2: Thursday 29 October
08:30 - 09:00 Registration
Session 3: Cities and Markets: Local & Regional
09:00 - 09:30 Keynote: Sithole Mbanga, South African Cities Network: Recession Issues: SA perspective
09:30 - 10:15 Keynote: Professor Paul Syagga, University of Nairobi: Issues of recession in Africa [215 KB]
Speech [213 KB]
10:15 - 10:45 TEA
10:45 - 12:30 Session 4: Tenure and the poor:
10:45 - 11:05 Setting the scene: Lauren Royston [261 KB]
11:05 - 11:30 David Gardner: Strategy for small scale private rental [225 KB]
11:30 - 12:00 Josette Cole, Mandlovu: New Crossroads: Outcomes & Options [366 KB]
12:00 - 12:30 Charlotte Lemanski, University College London: Moving up the ladder or stuck on the bottom rung? Homeownership as a solution to poverty in urban South [896 KB]
12:30 - 13:00 Panel Discussion: Sithole Mbanga, Lauren Royston, Charlotte Lemanski, Professor Paul Syagga
13:00 - 13:30 Reflections: Ahmedi Vawda ULM PAC Chair (Advisor Dept of Housing) [131 KB]
13:30 - 13:45 Closure: Mark Napier, Director Urban LandMark
13:45 LUNCH

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