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Slum Real Estate: The Low-Quality High-Price Puzzle in Nairobi's Slum Rental Market and its Implications for Theory and Practice

  • Gulyani, Sumila
  • Talukdar, Debabrata
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    Summary This study of 1755 households in Nairobi's slums challenges the conventional belief that slums offer low-quality low-cost shelter to a population that cannot afford better standards. In Nairobi, slums provide low-quality but high-cost shelter. Although slum residents pay millions of dollars in rents annually, and better quality units command higher rents, very little is being re-invested to upgrade quality. To resolve the challenge that the Nairobi puzzle poses for theory and practice, we develop a new analytical framework for understanding quality of living conditions. Improving conditions in Nairobi's slums requires, we argue, two simultaneous interventions: alteration of the tenure mix to enhance owner occupancy and infrastructure investment.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VC6-4T0NGJ0-1/2/0c092e9d385feac265f05cc74e3f58f7
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 1916-1937

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:36:y:2008:i:10:p:1916-1937
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    1. Omar M. Razzaz, 1993. "Examining Property Rights and Investment in Informal Settlements: The Case of Jordan," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(4), pages 341-355.
    2. World Bank, 2003. "Kenya : A Policy Agenda to Restore Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14363, The World Bank.
    3. Amis, Philip, 1984. "Squatters or tenants: the commercialization of unauthorized housing in Nairobi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 87-96, January.
    4. Faranak Miraftab, 1997. "Revisiting Informal-Sector Home Ownership: The Relevance of Household Composition for Housing Options of the Poor," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 303-322, 06.
    5. Sumila Gulyani & Ellen M Bassett, 2007. "Retrieving the baby from the bathwater: slum upgrading in Sub-Saharan Africa," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(4), pages 486-515, August.
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