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Home » April 2011 » Gauging Urban LandMark's impact over the last five years

Urban LandMark's incremental tenure approach

Building the LANDfirst momentum

The LANDfirst initiative saw Urban LandMark providing financial and technical support to Afesis-corplan's1 land access programme for a number of projects, including the development of an urban land access manual, a land access workshop series and learning events, and a "land first" advocacy plan. This led directly to the establishment of the LANDfirst charter and network. Overall, our activities have contributed to a better understanding of incremental settlement development.

Ronald Eglin, Senior Projects Co-ordinator at Afesis-corplan, notes the direct impacts of the engagement with Urban LandMark:

"Civil society groups feel more confident to request land and basic services as a first step towards long-term settlement development, as they have technical and moral support from other [CBOs and NGOs].

"National government introduced targets for the in-situ upgrading and the provision of serviced land, as opposed to targets for houses (as they had in the past). It is difficult to claim that the work around LANDfirst led to government setting such targets, but the fact that government knew that civil society groups were starting to talk about more incremental settlement approaches meant that they were likely more willing to set new targets that did not emphasise top structures.

"The concept of Managed Land Settlement (the other side of the coin from informal settlement upgrading) that makes greenfield land available ahead of need is now firmly on the Department of Human Settlements' agenda, and government is likely to start to actively accommodate this."

A number of spin-offs in terms of future initiatives have begun to emerge as a result of the project and which have been partly shaped by engagements with Urban LandMark.

"A plan is being developed... for a Land Action group project, aimed at supporting civil society groups in targeted municipalities to engage the municipality on land-related matters through Integrated Development Plans, local spatial development frameworks and housing sector plans."

1 A South African shelter and governance NGO based in Buffalo City/East London.

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