Dynamics in Responsible Land Administration; Change at Five Levels

J.A. Zevenbergen, W.T. de Vries, Rohan Bennett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Fundamentally, the term 'administration' suggests bureaucratic, controlled and steady, if not
slow, paces of change. However the relations between people and land, that land administration
attempts to capture, are the very opposite and are changing rapidly. At all levels of abstraction,
land administration can be seen as multi-faceted, crosscutting, inter-disciplinary and above all
dynamic. Dynamics in land administration is currently visible in the social and political
recognition - or negotiations on recognition - of land tenure typologies. The developments in
geo-ICT create their own dynamics. They offer the opportunity for previously unforeseen
methods of land data capture, visualization and sharing. Geo-ICT disturbs more than technical
elements of land administration systems: organizational and political contingencies are placed
in flux when technology selections are made. Dynamism in land administration is most
prominently viewed in large-scale land tenure regularization programs, usually at the national
level. Formal recognition of land rights changes the status of people, land, and the relationship
between them. Fit-for-purpose approaches to data collection and management change the core
characteristics of land administration: systems become flexible, inclusive, participatory,
affordable, reliable, attainable, and upgradeable. After the intervention, the perceptions of
landholders change: they might invest in the land, transfer it to other people; ultimately
changing land use and land value. The changes must be monitored and evaluated - particularly
in the contemporary era - where accountability of donor agencies, and all parties involved in
the programs, is heightened. Measuring the interventions is no trivial task: isolating meaningful
dependent and independent variables is an ongoing challenge. Socio-technical approaches are
needed as are skilled personnel to implement them. This suggests substantial changes to social
capacity, embodied in scaled capacity building programs: to reap the rewards of well-designed
interventions, integrated capacity development activities are needed at individual, crossorganizational,
and societal levels. When all the above changes coalesce in a harmonious
fashion, 'responsible land administration' appears more readily achievable
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFIG Congress 2018
Subtitle of host publicationEmbracing our smart world where the continents connect: enhancing the geospatial maturity of societies, Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-11, 2018
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherInternational Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018
EventXXVI FIG Congress 2018: Embracing our smart world where the continents connect: enhancing the geospatial maturity of societies - Istanbul Congress Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 6 May 201811 May 2018
Conference number: 26


ConferenceXXVI FIG Congress 2018
Internet address


  • land, land records, administration, land administration, dispute, resolution, post-conflict, state, building


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