Urban management, urban poverty and urban governance: Planning and land management in Maputo

Paul Jenkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reviews the approach to urban land management widely supported by international agencies, and its application in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It describes the scale of poverty in Maputo, where more than half the population is poor, including 30 percent who are destitute. Most of the city's population gets land for housing through the informal market. Access to formal ownership, often through illegal means, serves mainly the economic and political elites. The paper reviews the limitations of a programme that was meant to improve urban management; but with an emphasis that was inappropriate in the face of massive poverty and unrealistic in regard to the institutional and political realities. In conclusion, the paper argues that urban management improvements have to focus on demand-driven social improvements (in this instance improving informal land access for the majority) as much as on economic ones (for example, improving formal land access for the minority). It also notes the often under-estimated difficulties in improving urban management within countries with fragile local governments, especially where the adverse effects of structural adjustment and globalization are strong.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-152
    Number of pages16
    JournalEnvironment and Urbanization
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000


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