Exploring the linkage between urban land use change and livelihoods
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About 70% of Nansana dwellers are urban poor. “Small scale trade and urban agriculture are the main economic activities forming the heart of livelihoods in Nansana”1.This study explores the linkages between urban land use changes and peri-urban livelihoods of Nansana, in the fringes of Kampala city, Uganda. It focuses on what happens basically to the land based livelihoods when major land uses change in a rapidly urbanising town. Primary date was collected through qualitative techniques mainly informal narrative interviews supported by direct observations and ‘land use mapping’ (for Jenina neighbourhood only). Data analysis is centred on peoples’ livelihood experiences and vulnerability brought about by land use change and land tenure complexity. As a filter out for analysis, Sustainable livelihood framework was used to relate land use change and livelihoods vulnerability – adapted from DFID. The inquirers were carried out in a perspective that Livelihood means ‘means or a way of living’ or ‘what one does to make a living’. And land use change is simply ‘conversion from one land use or cover to another’. The linkage or the idea is to find how major land shifts influence livelihoods. The way forward is to develop possible planning remedy on how the poor continue to sustain their living amid land changes. The study found land based activities as key primary entry into eking livelihoods, with agro-based being most feasible to urban poor. In Nansana, the marginalized ‘the urban poor’ struggle at their own in making their ends-meet even without institutional support. They devise their possible pathways - moreover organised from ashes, in a state of flustered anxiety and out of poverty, continue live in town other than going back to villages. Findings indicate that livelihoods struggles are undermined by processes and transformations embodied in unchecked control land use changes, which puts urban built up ‘settlement’ as dominant land use ‘concrete Jungle’ in the area. The urbanization process therein can be typified by urban sprawl. However, on sad note it takes place in fringes, where normally majority of land based livelihood activities for the poor are situated. Settlement expansion as a dominant land use is insensitive to ancient traditional land based livelihoods. The result of such will be a widening marginality of urban poor if not corrected in near future. The unchecked rapid urban land use changes that undermines the ability of the poor man’s’ options to make a living, might shatter their opportunity to afford descent urban life and stand in a way of acting as a ticking future time bomb. The inability to achieve land based livelihood opportunity and growing divides between the rich and the majority poor sections of the population in urban areas may stand a chance of being breeding ground for social unrest in Nansana. Findings indicate that booming of settlement expansion in the area not only adds grey areas of slums in Nansana, but also threatens land based livelihood activities. Equally important is the way most livelihoods activities are executed before formalisation; how they emerge and characterised of, not only have the potential to influence land use pattern, ignite more slum growth , but also impact on capacity deprivation for the same activities. The initiatives of the civil authority to improving livelihoods of the urban poor are challenged by dynamic land tenure and thus, limiting them to effectively address escalating poverty. The paper contributes to the understudying of urban livelihoods experiences, and recommendations contribute some possible remedies in addressing future land-based livelihoods not only in Nansana, but even in other parts of the global south facing with similar experience.