The role of land tenure in housing the urban poor in Mexico

Hernandez Velasco, Carlos Roberto (2014) The role of land tenure in housing the urban poor in Mexico. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This dissertation addresses critically the role that land tenure plays in housing the poor in rapidly urbanising medium–sized cities in the Global South and in particular, Aguascalientes, Mexico, a city with one of the highest growth rates in the country. Urban sprawl, industrial development, and the increasing impoverished population in these sorts of cities are key variables that demand the attention of scholars and policy makers who have traditionally focused on the largest Mexican cities, i.e., Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara.

The urban poor struggle to achieve consolidated housing by means of creative agency strategies operating within restrictive environments, or structures. Thus, this study engages with the implications of poverty, informality, and security of tenure as the starting points to understand the problems of housing the poor. Their experiences and voice were incorporated by following a behavioural approach and contesting the arguments that assert the need for a Western–like legal land and housing system as the only path for such cities to overcome poverty as promoted by influential international bodies. In order to gain the in–depth knowledge required for this research, a qualitative case study methodology was employed, interviewing formal and informal poor settlers, policy makers, and experts.

The results showed that more questions are raised by the structure than by the agency strategies utilised by the urban poor, as the latter proved to be more part of the solution than of the problem. Besides the evident overlapping of formal and informal housing mechanisms, institutions must learn from their experiences. Approaching the role played by land tenure in home choices from a behavioural approach enriched this research by assessing it from the perspectives of the main actors involved in the process. It helped understand the problem from a perspective that is rich in experience as settlers provided an honest insight into their problems within the sampled areas by incorporating their voice into the housing equation. Yet, there was still an evident mismatch between the settlers’ and public bodies’ approaches to housing that will probably endure for some time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Housing the urban poor, land tenure, security of tenure, agency, structure, Mexico, poverty, informality, urbanisation, ejido land, Mexico.
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Gibb, Professor Kenneth and Lowder, Dr. Stella
Date of Award: 2014
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5483
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 13:58
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014 14:10

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