The “Land Tenure and Development” Technical Committee, a group for debate and exchange on rural and urban land tenure issues in developing countries, co-chaired by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency, has launched a study into how land uses in developing countries are being converted as a result of urbanisation. The study was the subject of collective work and an issue of “Regards sur le foncier”, both co-authored by Eric Denis and Claire Simmoneau, researchers at the Géographie-cités laboratory.
The Land Tenure and Development Technical Committee is a group for debate and exchange on rural and urban land tenure issues in southern countries (Africa, Asia, and Latin America), set up in 1996 at the initiative of the French Development Agency. It is co-chaired by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency, and brings together members with a wide range of backgrounds in terms of disciplines (agronomy, law, economics, sociology, anthropology, politics science), skills and professions (researcher, teacher, expert, community activist, development professional), from the main French land research, teaching, expertise, and cooperation institutions.
The committee aims to support the development and implementation of land policies that are adapted to the land issues at stake (access to land for as many people as possible, operationality of land management systems) in developing countries. Its work focuses on two main issues: land policies and land markets and transactions, of which large-scale land appropriations are an exacerbated form. In its work, the Committee advocates recognition of the multiplicity of rights and the need for multi-stakeholder dialogue on land issues.
The research programme “Land in the making – Land use conversions in the South(s)”, funded by the Land Tenure and Development” Technical Committee, looks at the ways in which land uses in the South are being converted as a result of urbanisation. The aim is to identify and classify conversion processes, the withdrawal of land from agricultural use, and entry into the urban market on a macro scale, and to document the methods of action and their effects based on specific case studies. This program is led within Géographie-cités by Éric Denis, director of the UMR.
This study was the subject of two publications:
A collective work entitled ‘Ordinary conversions of land uses linked to urbanisation in the South: Housing, capitalisation and changes in agriculture’.
An issue of Regards sur le Land Tenure entitled ‘Ordinary conversions of land use linked to urbanisation in the South: case studies’.
Download Conversions ordinaires des usages des sols liées à l’urbanisation dans les Suds : Habitation, capitalisation, mutations de l’agriculture. Comité technique « Foncier & Développement»: janvier 2023, 110 p. (In French)
Éric Denis (Géographie-cités laboratory): Eric Denis has a doctorate in geography and is the director of research at the CNRS. His work contributes to the analysis of settlement dynamics and city systems. He also conducts research into socio-spatial transformations and inequalities in rapidly expanding metropolises. He pays particular attention to the issue of subaltern or in situ urbanisation and small towns, as well as to the land question – the conversion of land to urban uses and its commodification.
Claire Simonneau (Techniques Territoires et Sociétés laboratory and Géographie-cités laboratory): Claire Simonneau is a geographer and urban planner. Her research focuses on the production and management of cities in the South, observed through land appropriation practices and the mechanisms used to regulate them. Based on fieldwork in West Africa (mainly Benin and Senegal), her work contributes to the analysis of popular land and property dynamics in urbanisation, and looks at alternatives to individual ownership and speculative acquisitions, driven by social mobilisation and local social and legal experimentation.