Cities to be Tamed? Standards and Alternatives in the Transformation of the Urban South location:Milan date:15-17 November 2012
The sheer pace of urbanisation in Kenya today far outstrips the ability of the state to provide housing for the ever-expanding urban population. Implicated in this housing crisis are existing forms of land and housing tenure, which are either inequitable, inefficient or both. Hardest hit by the inadequacies of the housing system are poor households who are rendered incapable of accessing land and housing through formal means. As a departure from conventional land and housing tenure, recent settlement upgrading projects in Kenya have sought to (re)design the institution of land tenure, by adopting communal forms of landholding premised on the community land trust (CLT). CLTs are created specifically to hold land in trust for given communities, in perpetuity. This paper analyses the Tanzania-Bondeni CLT recently implemented in Voi town, and concludes that CLTs are a powerful innovation that can be usefully mobilised in response to the urban housing problem. CLTs however employ an intricate legal framework that can be daunting, while their long-term success requires commitment and effective leadership at the community level, which can be challenging to sustain.