There is a growing consensus in research that informal settlements are not as chaotic as often portrayed. The processes through which households in these settlements access housing land are not anarchic but are structured and regulated by some form of social ordering. This paper analyzes and explains the nature of the institutions that actually regulate and underpin land delivery processes in Kampala's informal settlements. Contemporary land access processes are examined in three case study settlements where institutions that are responsive to the local contexts have been developed and utilized. These non-state institutions are shown to be eclectic in nature, drawing on various normative orders including state law, rules of market exchange and customary practices. Their success in delivering large quantities of housing land is attributed to the social legitimacy they command, evidenced by the general acceptance and respect they enjoy from those whose relations they regulate.
Environment and Urbanization (2007) 19 (2) 509-26[doi:10.1177/0956247807082833]