Category Archives: Projects

Urban Public Land Governance in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Funding bodies: The World Bank, using funds provided by AusAid

Duration: May 2011, ongoing

To provide support to the Government of the Solomon Islands and the relevant ministries and local government agencies in Honiara for the national policy objectives of improving urban public land governance.

The mission is the first phase of a Scoping Study requested by the Solomon Islands Government and involved field work in October, 2011. A follow up mission is planned to present an Issues Paper developed during the first mission for consideration by a National Taskforce as the basis for an extensive program of consultation. The mission is being undertaken jointly with a team from the East Asia and Pacific regional office of UN-HABITAT. The project focuses on the capital, Honiara and is managed by the Justice for the Poor programme in the World Bank.

Geoffrey Payne is contracted to contribute to the mission on land management, and urban planning and housing issues.

Ethiopia Land Policy Review

Funding bodies: GIZ (Germany)

Duration: April-May 2011

GPA was commissioned to undertake a review of a draft land policy paper prepared by a Task Team appointed by H.E. the Minister of Urban Development and Construction and related documents and to offer recommendations based on international good practice. Geoffrey Payne was Team Leader with Alain Durand-Lasserve and Michael Wagner as team members.

The project involved reading and reviewing a number of documents prepared by MUDC and the land Task Team appointed by H.E. the Minister of MUDC, attend meetings of the Task Team, visit a range of projects and urban development areas within Addis Ababa and contribute examples of good practice from international experience to ensure that urban land policy and practice for Addis Ababa, and eventually for other urban centres in Ethiopia, was built on solid foundations.

The assignment had four main components: land development, land administration, land information and real property registration. In practice, it was realised that there is considerable overlap between these and the latter two were combined during the assignment to reflect both the substantive connections and interactions between them and also the structure of the consultancy team.

The output of the project was a report submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and the Co-ordinator of the GIZ Urban Governance and Decentralization Programme in Addis Ababa.

City Development Strategy Project for Tirana, Albania

Funding bodies

Cities Alliance


Started March 2011, ongoing


To formulate a Long Term Strategic Framework for Tirana’s Sustainable Development.


Appointed by Mott McDonald Consultants to develop an integrated Upgrading Strategy for Informal Settlements as part of the preparation of a City Development Strategy for the capital, Tirana. Following a review of literature, field work was undertaken in March 2011 and reports prepared in May 2011. Following the local elections that month, the Mayor of Tirana was replaced and the project put on hold. It is being revived and work is expected to resume in May, 2012.

Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project

Funding body: The World Bank Inspection Panel

Duration: May 2010-March 2011

Objectives: The Inspection Panel received a formal complaint from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Cambodia that the Bank had failed to implement.

On September 4, 2009, the Inspection Panel received a Request for Inspection from the Center for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), which submitted the Request on behalf of communities affected by the Land Management and Administration Project. The Requesters claimed that residents in the area around Boeung Kak Lake in central Phnom Penh were denied the adjudication of their tenure rights and were being subjected to forced eviction without due process. The Inspection Panel undertook an initial assessment and determined that grounds existed for a full inspection.

Geoffrey Payne was appointed the technical expert on the inspection into the design and implementation of the multi-donor Land Management and Administration Programme. A visit was made to Phnom Penh in May 2010, during which visits were held to the affected area and a relocation settlement outside Phnom Penh to which some evicted residents had been moved. Meetings were held with residents, local NGOs and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), central and local government officials and other key stakeholders. The Panel reviewed key issues raised by the Request and the Management Response, the relevant Bank policies, the extent to which Bank Management complied with these policies in respect to each issue, and issues of harm resulting from instances of noncompliance.

The Panel assessed whether the Bank complied with the following Operational Policies and Procedures in the Request:

  1. OP/BP 4.12 Involuntary Resettlement;
  2. BP 13.05 Project Supervision;
  3. OP/OMS 2.20 Project Appraisal.

The Panel delivered its Investigation Report to the Board and to Management on November 23, 2010, in which it found non-compliance by the Bank with aspects of its policies on involuntary resettlement and on project appraisal and supervision. Following the response of Management, the Inspection Panel report was presented at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the World Bank in March, 2011

To read a copy of the Final Report click here. To read the Press Release published by the World Bank on 08 March, 2011, click here.

Learning note on land markets and regulation

Funding bodies:  World Bank Institute

Duration: May 2009-January 2010

Objectives: To prepare a Learning Note on land markets and regulation intended to provide an informed basis for analysis and action by policy-makers, administrators and other professionals responsible for managing urban land and property markets in rapidly urbanising countries.

The study drew on personal experience of research and consultancy assignments and a review of literature on land markets and their regulation, particularly in rapidly urbanising countries. It provides an outline of key issues and a range of policy instruments based on practical experience which can promote investment and allocate the benefits to all sections of the present and projected urban populations, especially vulnerable groups such as women, the poor and minorities.

The learning note was part of the ‘Inclusive Cities’ series circulated to policy makers and administrators in countries where the Bank is operating. To download a copy of the Note, please click here.

Urban Housing Sector Profile of Uganda

Funding bodies: UN-HABITAT, Nairobi, Kenya

Duration: April 2009-December 2010

Objectives: To prepare a national Urban Housing Sector Profile.

GPA was responsible for selecting and appointing a multi-disciplinary team of local researchers as part of the contract. This led to the appointment of a team of four leading academics from Makerere University, Kampala. Following an initial workshop, fieldwork was undertaken the local consultants and GPA, in Kampala and the northern centre of Gulu and a validation workshop was held in July, 2010. The final report was published by UN-HABITAT in 2010.

Land Titling Research Project Stage 2

Case study research on socio-economic impacts on land titling programmes

Funding bodies: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (MFA) / Global Land Tools Network (UN-Habitat) / SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)

Duration: June 2007- February 2008

Project Outputs: Assessment of the socio-economic impacts of land titling programmes in South Africa and Senegal. Reports, articles and presentations at international conferences, plus postings on relevant websites.


GPA has been awarded funds to undertake the Stage 2 of the international assessment of the social and economic impacts of land titling programmes in urban and peri-urban areas of developing countries.

This second stage consists of detailed case study research in South Africa and Senegal. GPA (Geoff Payne and Alain Durand-Lasserve) are coordinating the project and Prof. Carole Rakodi will be contributing during the editing process.

The research in South Africa is carried out by a local research team: Colin Marx (team leader) and Margot Rubin (researcher). A reference group of leading researchers on land issues is advising the local project team.

The research in Senegal is being conducted by a local research team: Selle Ndiaye (team leader), Badara Ciss, Landing Sane, and Arona Toure.

This stage is intended to produce a comprehensive, balanced and detailed assessment of the achievements and limitations of titling programmes. This will provide a basis for enabling international donors and national governments to formulate progressive and practical policies for urban land tenure which promote efficient land markets which protect the needs of the poor and other vulnerable groups.

Land Titling Research Project Stage 1

Desk review of social and economic impacts of land titling in urban and peri-urban areas

Funding body: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (MFA)

Duration: August – December 2006

Project Outputs: A desk review to be prepared and presented at a workshop to be held at Charney Manor, Oxfordshire, UK between 12-15 December 2006.

GPA has been awarded funds with three colleagues (Alain Durand-Lasserve, Carole Rakodi and Edesion Fernandes) to undertake a desk review of land titling programmes.

The desk review represents Stage 1 of a major international assessment of the social and economic impacts of land titling programmes in urban and peri-urban areas of developing countries. It is hoped that if the review is well received by the project’s Advisory Group, MFA and other potential funding agencies, that funds will be received to undertake detailed case study research in selected countries during 2007-08. Local researchers would then be commissioned to undertake the local studies within a conceptual and methodological framework to be agreed at a workshop to be held at Charney Manor, Oxfordshire, UK between 12-15 December 2006.

GPA is co-ordinating the project during Stage 1. If Stage 2 is approved, it is intended to work with Norwegian researchers and local teams to produce a comprehensive, balanced and detailed assessment of the achievements and limitations of titling programmes as a basis for enabling international donors and national governments to formulate progressive and practical policies for urban land tenure which promote efficient land markets which protect the needs of the poor and other vulnerable groups.

We would welcome suggestions on possible examples, documents, references and contacts as soon as possible to ensure that the review is successful. Please get in touch via our contact page.

Regularisation of Squatters in Port of Spain, Trinidad

The project involves an analysis of the problems of squatting in the capital, Port of Spain and the formulation of proposals for regularising selected squatter settlements in the different parts of the city. It includes the provision of basic services, upgrading infrastructure and the provision of legal land tenure to families living in squatter settlements. It also seeks to address issues of poverty and social development.

Funding body: Inter-American Development Bank

Participants: GPA, Interplan and the University of the West Indies.

Location: Central area of Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Stage One of the project started in May 2005 and the Inception stage is due for completion in August. Detailed studies will then be undertaken in September and the Diagnostic Report presented in October 2005. Stage Two work has yet to be determined.

To contribute to the Trinidad government’s vision 2020 of human development and standard of living through elevating the living environment in squatter sites. A key component of this vision is providing housing to all at affordable cost.

The objectives of the initial stage of the project are:

  1. To identify exact squatter sites, their geographic boundaries and land ownership patterns, numbers of squatter families and households and the demographic and socio-economic profiles of these communities;
  2. To develop regularisation scenarios for each community to support orderly access to affordable shelter in the project area;
  3. To develop a local area development framework that is consistent with proposals for the wider Port of Spain area, particularly with regard to population density, infrastructure development and transportation.

A subsequent stage will be devoted to developing a local area development framework consistent with proposals for the wider Port of Spain area.

Simplification of urban development administrative procedures – Lima, Peru

Funding body: FIAS (Foreign Investment Advisory Service) and IFC (International Finance Corporation) World Bank

This project follows a 2003 study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) into ‘Municipal Administrative barriers to investment’. The project aims to update the study’s main recommendations for simplifying regulations and administrative procedures to encourage new private investment, improve the environment for business development and help formalize industries in Lima, Peru.
The project will identify the main barriers represented by procedures for construction permission to private investment, analyse Lima’s zoning regulations for the development of commercial activities, and identify the range and distribution of economic and commercial activities which actually take place in the city. The project will then identify priority areas for reducing barriers to external investment and develop more simplified regulations and administrative procedures for construction permission and registering property. The project is being carried out in collaboration with a local consultant.

Duration: April – September 2005

Project outputs:

  1. Review of building regulatory framework and identification of bottlenecks.
  2. Analysis of official commercial zoning regulations in comparison to actual commercial activities on the ground.
  3. Diagnostic report followed by a report on proposals to be presented at a workshop in September 2005.
  4. New simplified regulatory framework for construction permission and property registration.

Following a visit to Peru in 2003 of an IFC representative it was agreed with the Government of Peru and the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima (MML), that reviews be undertaken of the existing regulatory framework affecting private sector investments in commerce and industry.
A loan from the IFC was approved and consultants appointed to review the norms, procedures and costs involved in obtaining operational licenses. The objective of this review was to identify bottlenecks, identify proposals for removing them, implement proposals, increase institutional capacity by training municipal staff and monitor the implementation of the proposals.
Among the key findings of the operational licenses study was the fact that of an estimated 50,000 economic sites that engage in economic activity within the municipality, only 13,948 have a license. There was also evidence of a high withdrawal rate associated with initiating procedures for license applications suggesting that the procedures, times and costs involved were not considered acceptable by potential investors.

These problems are particularly acute in the Historical Centre. Prior to 1971, this was the economic as well as the cultural heart of Lima. However, in 1971, constraints for development within the Historical Centre were removed in order to stimulate investment and development. As a result, many developers demolished old buildings, some of them of great historical and aesthetic merit, and replaced them with much larger structures many bearing no relationship to the adjacent buildings or their environment, and of a very poor design quality. This, together with a rapid increase in rural-urban migration which led to central Lima being swamped by street traders, accelerated a process of decline and some of the more exclusive retail businesses and a number of major commercial institutions began to move out of the Historical Centre.

To curb such inappropriate developments and protect the remaining structures and environment in the Historical Centre, a private company worked with the Municipality to prepare a submission to UNESCO for registration as a World Heritage Site. Following UNESCO recognition in 1994, guidelines were prepared for considering all applications for the use or redevelopment of buildings within the area covered. These guidelines were primarily concerned with aesthetic issues and proved excessively restrictive in terms of encouraging property owners or potential investors to refurbish or redevelop existing buildings. From a period of excessive laxity, public policy had moved to the other extreme of excessive control and over-protection which only served to accelerate the outward movement of commercial enterprises serving the upper end of the market.

When the master plan for Lima was approved in April 1999, it was required that all applications for construction licenses in the Historical Centre had to be submitted to the National Institute of Culture (INC) for approval before being considered by the municipality. This created a major procedural bottleneck and delayed many proposals. This in turn encouraged property owners and investors to either undertake work without approval or cancel their investment in the area altogether. Although applications now only need to be submitted to the INC if they relate to officially designated monuments and their environmental surroundings, many norms are widely considered to be unduly restrictive.

At present, there is an estimated 1.5 million square metres of empty buildings within central Lima and a significant proportion of this is in the Historical Centre where a large number of empty or underused buildings exist. In addition, 1334 out of 5700 buildings are in a poor state of repair and major investment is required to restore them to their former glory or even make them operational. Even the infrastructure is inadequate for the existing level of activity and water and power supplies are unreliable throughout the Historical Centre. In some cases, it might not be economically feasible to make the necessary level of investment to improve properties, given the modest and uncertain returns presently available.

The proposed zoning plan for the municipality attempts to address these issues by widening the range of activities permitted within the Historical Centre and identifying treatment areas for regeneration in other parts of the municipality. In addition to the operational licenses review, it was considered that the regulatory framework for processing construction licenses also presented a significant impediment to investment, particularly in commercial and industrial development. Consequently, the present consultants were commissioned by IFC in early April 2005 to review the norms, procedures and costs involved in obtaining construction licenses and make proposals for change.