The integration of housing rights into the informal settlement intervention process: An international review

Ismail, Mohamed Iqbal Ebrahim
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The failure of governments to promote efficient housing policies coupled with increasing speculation in land markets has resulted in scarcity of serviced land, leading to a lack of adequate housing for the majority of the urban population. This has resulted in illegal land use and development and the eventual situation of informal settlements developing at a rapid rate. However most governments in the developing world, including South Africa have failed to acknowledge that most new urban informal settlements are developed by an illegal process as informal settlement residents willingly or unwittingly contravene planning regulations, contravene laws out of ignorance of the legal requirements, coupled with the inability to conform to the high standards set. Consequently, States respond to this illegality in the form of eviction as it threatens the economic, social and political stability of the urban environment. Concepts promoted internationally and identified in international literature recognize that the solution to informality lies in appropriate protection of rights which should ensure access to secure shelter leading to access to other benefits such as livelihood opportunities, public services and credits. That flowing from International Laws and Covenants, Human Rights Law needs to be looked at as a system of law that creates legally binding obligations for states with the aim of protecting, respecting and promoting housing rights for informal settlement residents. In the context of rights, Fernandes goes further in emphasising the legal constitutional perspective of the urban phenomenon where law is used as a vehicle for urban development and social change as well as encouraging state action and its attempts at socio-political legitimization in the context of informal settlement intervention.
Student Number : 2503365 MSc Building (Housing) research report School of Architecture Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
housing rights, informal settlements, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa