Latin America and the Caribbean

Promoting the use of land-based financing tools to expand urban infrastructure and social housing and to mitigate informality, climate change impacts, and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean


Cities in developing nations—and in Latin America in particular—are living a paradox: widespread poverty persists amid extraordinary wealth and economic progress. Land is at the heart of both the problem and the solution. Patterns of informal settlement prevent millions of people from accessing infrastructure and jobs. Meanwhile, the value of land that is generated by the public sector offers the potential to finance urban development and provide services that mitigate urban poverty.

While the paradox persists, some countries and cities in Latin America have been designing and implementing innovative land policies and land-based finance tools. Since 1993, the Lincoln Institute has learned from, educated, and trained the key decision-makers behind these tools and built an evolving network of regional scholars, experts, and practitioners to share findings and best practices.

Reversing the conventional causality—poverty leading to informality—is one of the Lincoln Institute’s trademark contributions to the longstanding debate on the causes and mitigation of informal settlements in the region. Our work in Latin America primarily advances the Lincoln Institute’s work toward functional land markets and reduced informality and efficient and equitable fiscal systems by developing education and research on fiscal systems, upgrading of informal settlements, land value capture, and urban economics. More recently, our work has also addressed climate change, spatial inequity, and land conservation.

Resources and Education

For over 30 years, we have conducted research and offered free courses (online and in person) in Latin America. The development and growth of these activities support the production and dissemination of relevant land policy findings, tools, and applications as they relate to Latin America and the world. Our training programs bring together participants, ranging from high-level urban planning officials to students of planning and other disciplines, from across Latin America for intensive, in-person or virtual courses and seminars on informal land markets, large-scale urban projects, climate change, and other topics. Our instructors use case studies, visualizations, customized and sophisticated games, and other pedagogical tools to illuminate complex land market and land policy concepts.

Participants in a Lincoln Institute course play a multiday organized game called GIROS or GLUT (Gaining from Land Use Transactions), which teaches students about the topics of land price determination, densification, and other phenomena related to the notoriously complex and often misrepresented topic of urban land markets

To receive updates from the Lincoln Institute (in Spanish) regarding new programs and educational offerings in Latin America and the Caribbean, join our mailing list.

Estación Ciudad Podcast

Estación Ciudad explores how land policies impact marginalized communities’ access to vital services, housing, and jobs, and emphasizes their direct link to societal outcomes. The podcast sheds light on the complexities in various scenarios—from the gentrifying neighborhoods in Cholula, Mexico, to the organized occupation of vacant buildings in São Paulo, Brazil, to families resisting displacement from precarious yet well-located homes in Lima, Peru.

Listen to Estación Ciudad


Contribución de mejoras en América Latina
Óscar Armando Borrero Ochoa and Julieth Katterine Rojas Ruiz

Policy Focus Reports

Public Finance

Making Land Legible
Diego Alfonso Erba and Mario Andrés Piumetto

Policy Focus Reports

Technology and Tools

Our Experts

Anacláudia Marinheiro Centeno Rossbach

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Claudia De Cesare

Municipality of Porto Alegre, Brazil

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Cynthia Goytia

Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Argentina

Daniel A. Rodríguez

University of California, Berkeley

Paulo Sandroni

Sandroni Consultants; Getulio Vargas Foundation

São Paulo, Brazil