This Essay examines the role of law in promoting different housing patterns, especially low-income options. A common form of the latter is squatting on public land, known as a type of "informal" housing. Over the past two decades, development professionals have urged the legal formalization of these arrangements, arguing their great economic potential. On public land, property is to be privatized and titled. On "invaded" private land, the state is to negotiate and pay for the transfer of ownership from the original titleholder. This titling agenda has received the overwhelming support of international development institutions such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The government of Panama, along these same lines, has instituted a robust titling program. One of its express objectives is reducing the incidence of informality.
Jorge L. Esquirol,
Titling and Untitled Housing in Panama City
, 4 Tenn. J. L. & Pol'y 243
Available at: http://ecollections.law.fiu.edu/faculty_publications/327