The World Bank Spatial Development team and some of their partners from the London School of Economics presented highlights of initial research findings at the 17th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, which was held March 14-18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The conference theme was Scaling up Responsible Land Governance.


The research presented was funded through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Sustainable Urbanization, a partnership between the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development, the Swiss Secretariat for State Economic Affairs, and the Government of Norway.


World Bank Economist Nancy Lozano Gracia presented the Morphology of African Cities, based on joint research she undertook with colleagues Sarah Antos, Business Analyst, and Somik Lall, Lead Economist for Urban Development at the World Bank. She discussed how the Spatial Development team used the capabilities of GIS and satellite imagery to explore and better understand the urban form of several large African cities (Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Kigali, Dar es Salaam, and Dakar) and how they are changing. The presentation was part of a March 15 session on Urbanization Trends: New Ways of Spatial Data Acquisition and Analysis.


In a session on the Spatial Development of African Cities March 15, Somik Lall gave an overview presentation in which he highlighted some of the challenges facing African cities today. He noted that they are crowded with high populations in urban slums, fragmented and disconnected with few roads outside the city center, and costly for households, businesses, and workers.


Lall also chaired a session on Documenting and Quantifying the Impacts of Urban Land Market Failure in Africa, where partners at the London School of Economics and Political Science presented several papers that they had produced through the Spatial Development Research program.


About the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty Conference

Now in its 17th year, the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty brought together key stakeholders from governments, civil society, academia, the development community, and the private sector to discuss land policy design and implementation, impact evaluation and progress monitoring, and the latest research on these issues.

This year’s conference paid special attention to working at scale, mainstreaming innovations, and sustaining investments in land governance. Conference participants discussed what can be done to guarantee inclusiveness, sustainability, and reliability, build capacity, and ensure that better land information and more tenure security contribute to wider societal objectives and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


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