Improving the effectiveness of formal housing delivery in Tanzania

A key policy instrument to improve Africa’s stock of urban housing is the provision of surveyed, titled, and serviced de-novo plots in greenfield areas, on which residents build houses. These plots, known as “de novo” are advocated to solve coordination problems in contexts with weak institutions and rapid, haphazard, and unorganized growth (Romer 2012; Angel 2012; Bryan et al. 2019). The aim of this project is to determine how to implement this “de novo” approach in a more effective and inclusive way.

This study will investigate different implementations of this policy in Dar es Salaam to learn more about the roles of public vs. private provision; the role of plot sizes, where large plots exclude the poor and may also lead to underdevelopment of space; and the role of roads and market access.

The study will use administrative data, imagery, and survey data to measure outcomes including plot uptake, housing investment, regularity of layout, de facto subdivision or back yarding, infrastructure survival and private complimentary investments in utilities, as well as compliance with building codes and regulations. It will also examine the sorting of households with different income levels across projects and plots.


  • Research in progress.

    Project last updated on: 12 Mar 2021.