identify both similarities and differences in how these two countries approach enforcement
and related issues and hope that our study will deliver insights to stimulate broader
Current knowledge: illegal development in advanced-economy countries
The dominant pattern of unauthorized development prevalent in developing countries
differs in many ways from the pattern characteristic of advanced-economy countries
(Aguilera and Smart, 2016). The attention of scholars and various development-aid
organizations has been directedmostly to the mammoth phenomenon of illegal construction
in developing countries. Due to their scale and social function, these phenomena are often
not designated as “illegal”but as “informal”,“irregular”,“unauthorized”or “self-organized”.
There is a large body of scholarlyliterature and policy reports about informal development.
By contrast, the issue of unauthorized development and approaches to enforcement in
developed countries has been largely ignored by researchers (Aguilera and Smart, 2016).
Yet, the entire structure of planning law rests on the lynchpin assumption that an effective
enforcement system is in operation and that there will be general compliance with planning
law and development controls. To date, there is no comparative data base about the
parameters related to enforcement and not even much empirical research on individual
A major distinction between developed and developing countries pertains to property
rights and land titles. Among many developing countries, much unauthorized or informal
development occurs on land where the residents have no clear property rights. Land
occupancy may have variousgradations of informality of tenure, from clearly unauthorized
squatting on land owned by others, through various categories of incomplete or contested
rights. In some cases, these are later “regularized”by land-titling (Gouverneur, 2014;
Fernandes, 2011;Durand-Lasserve et al., 2013;Parsa et al.,2010;De Soto,2003).
By contrast, among advanced-economy countries, the phenomenon of squatting and
other forms of contested tenure is less prevalent, except in special cases. In our two case-
countries, these exceptions are mostly the Romas in Portugal and in Europe in general
(ECRI, 2007;Dias et al.,2009) and the Bedouins in the South of Israel (Shmueli and Khamaisi,
2011;Orenstein and Hamburg, 2009;Abu-Saad,2008). These special cases are not the focus
of this paper. In advanced-economy countries, the major part of illegal development occurs
on land where the builder or occupier does have formal property rights. One cannot
exaggerate the importance of this distinction, which currently receives insufﬁcient
recognition in the literature.
All the planning and development-control laws we have ever encountered do include
some mechanism of enforcement. Most of the literature on this topic pertains to the legal
realm. There are books entirelydedicated to planning enforcement (Harwood,2015). Regular
texts on planning-and-development law often do include a chapter on enforcement.
Examples of textbooks from variousperiods include McAuslan (1975, pp. 486-518), Ratcliffe
et al. (2009, pp. 85-92) and Moore and Purdue (2012, pp. 387-430). Yet, compared with other
aspects of the statutory planning process(such as plan preparation, public information and
participation, building permits or legal recourse), enforcement has been an orphan among
This is not to say that compliance with law, in general,is a neglected topic. In the social
sciences, there is an extensive body of research on the links between regulation and
compliance in general (Edelman and Talesh, 2011). However, the special aspects of land-
related violations are usually not addressed. Among the few theoretical contributions that
do focus on land and construction are two papers by Harris (2010,2011) which offer an