Property Tenure and Local Economic Development

By Ashley Gunter and Lukas Scheepers.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Development and specifically local economic development (LED) cannot be achieved without significant community involvement. A community’s knowledge of their needs is essential as development needs to be about improving the lives of the poor. Yet many communities feel dis-empowered and a lack of ownership of LED projects. Having tenure could give poor communities a sense of ownership and belonging, facilitating a desire to participate in LED, this is often absent and lack of ownership discourages investment. It is thus necessary to determine whether tenure would lead to communities wanting to actively participate in LED. This could lead to a form of community based LED that is not led by government but rather by the individual communities who actively see value in investing in their physical environment. This concept favours the neoliberal principle of allowing free willing individuals to participate and develop their communities in order to reap the economic and social rewards of having a safe, clean and secure neighbourhood. This study of informal townships of Johannesburg explores the perception that tenure could lead to more interest in participation in LED and to more investment in both structures that people live in and their physical environment. By encouraging ownership and investment, governments can minimize the fiscal inputs that they have to provide in these communities by utilizing the community as a contributor to LED. This is not to shirk the role that government needs to play in service delivery, however, it can lead to the convalescence of a community without complete reliance on government.

Keywords: Local Economic Development, Tenure, Community Participation

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.397-408. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 728.013KB).

Ashley Gunter

Lecturer, Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University South Africa, Johanneburg, Gauteng, South Africa

I am a lecturer at Monash University South African Campus engaged in reading for a PhD at the University of Johannesburg. I will be completing my PhD in September this year. I lecture urban geography at Monash and focus on issues of social and low cost housing in my research. I am a young researcher who is looking to grow my profile as an academic. I have presented at 12 conference, 6 of which were international and have published 5 journal articles in peer review journals. I am on the board of the International Water Centre’s Africa Water Research Node and am an active member of the South African Geographical society, the OSGeo society and the International Geographical Unions Commission on Local Economic Development.

Lukas Scheepers

Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa


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