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Tenure security and household investment decisions for urban sanitation: the case of Dakar, Senegal

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-05-20, 12:08 authored by Pippa Scott, Andrew Cotton, M. Sohail (Khan)
This paper explores the relevance of householders' security of tenure to their willingness to pay the capital and operational costs for sanitation in low-income urban areas. When the sanitation norm is self-managed on-site systems, as is the case in many low-income areas of towns and cities, household investment decisions in sanitation are inherently linked to tenure security. Based on evidence gathered in Dakar, Senegal, it is de facto rather than de jure tenure rights that provide sufficient security for household investment in sanitation. We make a critical distinction between willingness to invest and willingness to pay for the capital investment costs and on-going operational servicing costs of sanitation. Whilst tenants and those with lower tenure security do not invest in capital infrastructure, they are willing to pay for the operational aspects of sanitation services. Current formal policy settings and strategies for urban sanitation tend not to cater for this group; this is a fundamental oversight as these constitute significant and growing segments of the population. Land tenure and sanitation issues need to be considered in an integrated way and the capital and operational costs need to be disaggregated in planning to respond more effectively to the spending decisions of the urban poor.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


SCOTT, P., COTTON, A. and SOHAIL KHAN, M., 2013. Tenure security and household investment decisions for urban sanitation: the case of Dakar, Senegal. Habitat International, 40, October 2013, pp. 58 - 64.


© Elsevier Ltd.


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This article was published in the journal, Habitat International [© Elsevier Ltd.] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2013.02.004




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