The Kenya Government has over a number of years pursued policies geared towards the promotion of secondary towns. Included in this strategy is the achievement of an orderly and coordinated urban land development. However, experience from these towns indicates that, planned land development has encountered a lot of bottlenecks particularly in relation to the institution of private ownership of land. This paper traces the land tenure systems that have existed in the Kenya’s secondary towns. In general, the paper examines the effects of land tenure forms on the provision of housing and the related infrastructure. The effects of existing land tenure identified include influence on housing development, influence on planned land development, cloudiness of titles, hoarding and speculation, insecurity, inflexibility and inequity. The paper concludes by making suggestions based on the observed bottlenecks that should be considered to encourage and promote systematic urban land development in secondary towns.
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