Chapter 1 The hybrid of land taking and land making
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Questions of land tenure, security and access to land, are major concerns of citizens and migrants in most cities of the world. Neo-liberal urban policies have contributed to land tenure and land market transformation, land speculation, confiscation of public space, rise of land values and gentrification in inner cities. This has caused lack of tenure rights, exclusion from appropriate and affordable urban services, eviction and displacement, intra-urban migration and expansion of urban peripheries. Various land-based socially innovative initiatives are, however, responding by (re)conceptualising measures such as land sharing, community land trusts, starter titles and land readjustment, among others, to facilitate sharing of space under conditions of (sub)urban land transformation. This book seeks to generate state-of-the-art knowledge on collective action and policy in the area of land tenure and (sub)urban development. This introductory chapter explains this aim, situates the book within recent literature on land tenure dynamics, elaborates a governance perspective to assess these dynamics, and introduces the book’s chapters. It argues that as a key pillar of community development, dynamics and conditions of land tenure systems need to be well understood to formulate more appropriate development alternatives and governance systems attuned to the interests of the urban society as a whole, and the needs of the poor and the vulnerable citizens and migrants in particular. The book includes five conceptual chapters and covers 12 cases in nine countries in four continents (Pakistan, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, India, Ecuador, Mexico, Japan, Belgium), documenting commoning and social innovation initiatives and movements, responding to enclosure, privatisation, speculation and land trafficking. As such, the book fundamentally questions decennia-old relations between the private market sector, the state and civil society.

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