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Yale-NUS College

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


This study attempted to find out how land-use activities and land-ownership patterns have changed since land adjudication in Usoma Village, a peri-urban community on the fringe of Kisumu City. The methods used were photo-observation and geo-tagging based on walkabouts onsite, documentary analysis of maps obtained from the Ministry of Lands, interviews with key authority figures, independent experts and community leaders, and interviews as well as focus-group discussions with community members. In terms of land ownership, it was found that subdivisions of land, both formal and informal, had been common over the period. Land transfers based on compulsory acquisition and investment demand were also common. These transfers occurred both within and outside the formal system. In terms of land use, it was found that subsistence-generating activities like fishing and farming have decreased, while cash-generating activities like sand mining and construction of rental housing have increased. The reasons for these land-use and land-ownership changes were discussed, along with their connections to urbanization processes. It was shown that urbanization in Usoma manifests as a shift from subsistence-sustaining to cash-generating activity, along with trends of population densification, state-led development, and the rise of land as commodity and sand as resource. In summary, it can be said that market forces have promoted speculative urban aspirations without providing sustainable urban livelihoods in Usoma.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Geographic Information Sciences | Growth and Development | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


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