Port Moresby and Lae Cities have high density of settlements in the country. Within these cities, we have formal and informal settlements. The formal settlements are allowed by law and the informal settlements are not recognized by law. Informal settlements fall under three categories and they are classified based on land tenure. Read on to find out more.
Understanding Different Categories of Settlements in Papua New Guinea
The word “settlement” refers to a place where people live. It can be a single house in a remote area or a mega city with millions of people. Technically, Port Moresby and Lae City are high density settlements in the country. Within these cities, we have formal and informal settlements. The formal settlements are allowed by law and the informal settlements are not recognized by law. Informal settlements fall under three categories and they are classified based on land tenure.
1. Planned Informal Settlements
These established mostly on state land and are planned and developed as low cost housing estates by NHC but deteriorated overtime to their current state. 2 Mile Settlement is a classic example of such a settlement.
2. Unplanned Informal Settlements
These are established mostly on state land by force because of prevailing housing demand. Classic examples are 8 Mile Settlement and ATS.
3. Sanctioned Informal Settlements
These are mostly established on customary land and are sanctioned by the customary landowners for money or other reasons. Gabi is a sanctioned settlement mostly occupied by Gulf people. It must have been sanctioned because of the Hiri Trade or intermarriage relationships. Tauruma Valley is also a sanctioned informal settlement in exchange for money.
Another special group of informal settlements in our cities are the traditional villages. The aforementioned settlements are classified based on land tenure but traditional villages are classified based on the build environment. The build environment is not regulated by law because on customary land.
All land within the boundaries of our cities and towns, regardless of land tenure, are subject to the Physical Planning Act of 1989 but land tenure is given prominent over planning and growth of informal settlements is rapid. Our cities and towns are enclaved by informalities of all types and we are waiting for disaster.
WE NEED TO ACT NOW OR RELAX AND WAIT FOR A TIME BOMB.
Picture and words credited to Mr. Vincent Payati.