PDF | Free | 6 pages
Download PDF

Urban Housing Informality

Does Building and Land Use Regulation Matter?
Ciro Biderman, Martim Smolka, and Anna Sant’Anna, July 1, 2008

New evidence from Brazil indicates that the regulation of land use and building standards can reinforce other factors that contribute to informal and irregular urban land occupation. The magnitude and persistence of informality in Latin American cities cannot be fully explained by poverty rates (which are declining), insufficient public investment in social housing or urban infrastructure (which is expanding), or even government tolerance of certain opportunistic practices on the part of informal developers and occupants (The Economist 2007). While these factors are undoubtedly important, inappropriate land use and building regulation also seems to play a role in the resilience of the problem. It can be argued as a corollary that an alternative regulatory framework may help to alleviate informality in urban land markets.