FIG Peer Review Journal


Between Monitoring and Modelling: Spatial Hierarchy and Context of Land Rights (2986)

Karin Haldrup (Denmark)
Ms. Karin Haldrup
PhD student
University of Aalborg
Lautrupvang 15
DK 2750
Corresponding author Ms. Karin Haldrup (email: knh[at], tel.: +45 99 40 24 65)

[ abstract ] [ handouts ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2008-03-21
Received 2008-01-31 / Accepted 2008-03-14
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2008
ISBN 978-87-90907-67-9 ISSN 2307-4086


The present paper takes its point of departure in a dilemma constituted by: - On one side, an acknowledgement of the complexity of land tenure issues, and - On the other hand the simplicity of practices or paucity of availability of data on land in many parts of the world. The land tenure situation of all those areas outside the formal system escape quantification through data sources currently available at land institutions. Moreover, the search for indicators on informally held land faces other conceptual challenges in respect to capturing diverse forms of land rights other than individual tenure partitioned vertically in space as land plots. The present paper suggests a strategy of strengthening land rights through introduction of an intermediate step of land tenure clarification at the spatial resolution of the neighbourhood level. It is proposed to start any land tenure upgrading process by profiling the tenure situation by subareas or localities in order to reflect the complex nature of rights in specific areas prior to formalisation of rights. Many framework conditions of land tenure security are common for clusters of properties, and tenure typology can be determined for each such cluster and sub-area. The territorial reference is to be defined as a subdivision of administrative districts into neighbourhoods or subareas of manageable size, delineated in due consideration of terrain features and homogenety of tenure. When having profiled the tenure situation by sub-area, the ground is laid for better informed decisions on tenure upgrading, when resources permit. The suggested grid of sub-areas is to be regarded solely as a frame for diagnosing of the tenure situation area by area, while a territorial frame of subareas for not have a legal significance per se. The strategy offers a potential gateway to more appropriate and affordable tenure upgrading by working at an appropriate resolution. At the same time it offers a way of overcoming the information void, where the formal land registration system does not reflect the tenure situation in the field. A change of resolution in diagnosing the tenure situation is an operational and affordable approach to gradual upgrading of land tenure, and the resulting spatial frame may even serve as a valuable contribution to a future land information.
Keywords: Land distribution; Security of tenure; Informal settlements