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The Role of Institutions in Place‐making and Securing Livelihoods for Urban Residents in Samoa: Exploring Resettlement Programmes at Sogi and Taufusi

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Anita Latai-Niusulu

Abstract

Since the start of the twentieth century, people have shifted onto lands owned either by the state or the church in the Apia Urban Area. Over time, it has become evident that this has not been entirely to the benefit of the landowners. Some families were not paying for their leases and their houses were generally in poor repair, with inadequate drainage, poor access roads and little or no sewerage service. Early in the twenty-first century, the Sāmoan government and the Catholic Church decided to resettle households that had been living on church or state land next to the Central Business District to designated areas on the edge of the Apia Urban Area. This paper examines these resettlements, and especially the role of institutions such as the government and the church in terms of their policies and the processes undertaken. It also highlights lessons that could be learnt from these experiences, by treating them as constructive insights for strengthening future work relating to the management of urban areas. The findings and ideas discussed in this article would be further explored in a continuing program of research.

Keywords: Samoa, informal settlements, resettlements, urban development, urban management, development.

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