LAND TENURE, SPECULATIVE CAPITALISM, AND THE URBAN POOR NEXUS IN THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF SLUM FORMATION IN KENYA
This paper reviews the truism that ‘urban slums are created on idle public land, singly, by the poor and also occupied by them’. Instead, the origin of slums in Kenya is traced to the dual policy of ‘control and non-controlled’ spaces. In the ensuing ‘divide’, slum formation begins with a shrewd capitalist, identifying the ‘non-controlled’ zones for investment in the form of low quality shacks. Speculators are aware of the high demand for such shacks by the desperate populous urban poor. The ‘non-control’ land, though desirable, must be identified in the precincts of the urban fringe, for the shacks to be easily accessed. Contrary to the popular theory, the formation of slums is then viewed through the lens of the interaction between the location of ‘non-control’ land, the shrewd capitalist, and the urban poor. Using a case study approach, this nexus was confirmed and the specific roles played by the various actors were found to agree with the proposition advanced in this paper. Due to lack of such knowledge by scholars and policy makers, a vicious cycle of slums occur in the urban arenas undeterred. To break the cycle and eradicate the slum menace in Kenya, the policy-led space ‘divide’ must be harmonized.
Key words: Land Tenure, Speculative Capitalism, The Urban Poor, Nexus, Slum Formation
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