May 30, 2023 1:30 PM

Financing Informal Area Upgrading through Land Value Capture

The Middle East and North Africa Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (MENA-UHPH) is organizing a virtual panel discussion that seeks to explore the use of land value capture instruments to fund the upgrading of informal areas. 


Ombretta Tempra

Ombretta Tempra is a Land Specialist at UN-Habitat and Global Land Tool Network, based in the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States, in Cairo. She leads the Agency's global portfolio on land and conflict and the regional work on housing, land and property rights.

Samar Abdelkhalek

Samar Abdelkhalek is Local Development Specialist at the World Bank in Egypt. With her work experience in international organizations, she nurtures a keen interest in urban development and fiscal decentralization. Samar has been working with different stakeholders on enhancing local own-source revenues and land-based finance.

Nico Calavita

Nico Calavita is professor emeritus in the Graduate Program in City Planning at San Diego State University. His areas of interest include affordable housing policies, land use planning, land value capture and comparative planning.

Astrid Haas

Astrid is an independent urban economist, working across research and practice. She has worked extensively with city government across Africa and Asia in her diverse roles. She is currently also an Extraordinary Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Pretoria and a Fellow at the Infrastructure Institute at the School of Cities at the University of Toronto.

Event description

The Middle East and North Africa Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (MENA-UHPH) is organizing a virtual panel discussion to explore the potentials of using  Land Value Capture (LVC) instruments to finance the upgrading of informal areas. 

The online session is a follow-up of the City Debates 2023, organized by the Master in Urban Planning, Policy and Design Programs at the American University in Beirut, the Beirut Urban Lab, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, with participation by the MENA-UHPH in the panel titled "Opportunities for Land Value Capture".

This follow-up discussion seeks to further probe the use of LVC specifically for the upgrading of informal areas in cities of the Global South.

Many cities across the MENA region and the Global South more broadly have been grappling with the issue of pervasive informality. For example, Egyptian official statistics estimate that informal areas make up over 60% of urban areas across the country and house well over half of Egypt’s urban population.

In the absence of affordable housing in the formal housing market, the urban poor (and oftentimes even middle-class families) have sought shelter within the massive informal housing sector. 

The housing provided in these informal areas has varying degrees of adequacy, but a large portion can be improved to meet the standards of adequate housing through targeted development interventions, such as housing renovation, infrastructure upgrading, street paving and lighting, greening, and in some cases de-densification and replanning.

This requires, however, a heavy financial contribution by the institutions responsible for informal area upgrading, and the lack of funds has sometimes hindered their ability to engage in slum regeneration. Land value capture instruments can potentially play an important role in fulfilling this financing gap, but are faced with a range of legislative and administrative hurdles.

There is a need to i) discuss recent experiences in using LVC to facilitate informal area upgrading; and ii) explore different potential instruments for the gains of LVC to be reaped not only by local government, but by local communities in informal areas, in a way that increases their access to adequate housing while also protecting them from gentrification and displacement.

Watch the discussion

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