In the large cities in the developing world, only a privileged minority of the population finds access to land and housing through the commercial market. Mushrooming ‘irregular’ settlements are filling the gap but are themselves beset by deficiencies and insecurity. The chapter argues that the failure of formal markets is systemic and structural, and that attempts to open them up for the poor have fallen short of overcoming these inherent limitations. In order to mitigate the widening gap between gated communities and ghettos, government intervention needs to rediscover the ‘enabling approach’ and become much smarter than the present mixes of negligent tolerance, brutal eviction, market-fundamentalist privatisation, and populist titling.

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Keywords Städtische Armut, Wohnungsmarkt-Versagen, Informeller Wohnungsbau, Slumsanierung, Gentrifizierung, urban poverty, housing market failure, informal housing, slum upgrading, gentrification
Persistent URL
Journal Peripherie
Berner, G.E. (2016). 'Zur Wohnungsfrage' im 21. Jahrhundert: Marktversagen, hilflose Politik und die globale Ausbreitung von Slums. Peripherie, 36(141), 10–32. Retrieved from