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RICS report exposes poor land record systems worldwide

UK: Only 1.5 billion of the estimated 6 billion land parcels worldwide have land rights formally registered in land administration systems, according to a collaborative research report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Know Edge. The report also explored a potential solution: establishing a partnership between land professionals and citizens through ‘crowdsourcing’.

The report revealed that many of the 1.1 billion slum dwellers and further billions living under social tenure systems wake up every morning to the threat of eviction. These people are excluded from any form of security of tenure: they are trapped in poverty. Increasing global population and urbanisation is only going to turn this gap into a chasm.

The report explained that ‘crowdsourcing’ as a potential solution would encourage and support citizens to directly capture and maintain information about their land rights. The research presents a vision of how this might be implemented and investigates how the risks associated with this collaborative approach could be managed.

Crowdsourcing is a concept that uses the internet and online tools to get work done by obtaining input from, and stimulating action by, citizen volunteers. It is currently used to support scientific evidence-gathering and record events in disaster management, such as witnessed in the recent Haiti and Libya crises. These applications are emerging because society is increasingly spatially enabled.

The latest crowdsourcing research sets a new standard for RICS output and has already been presented at a number of United Nations’ and other international events.

The closing of the ‘security-of-tenure gap’ is of critical importance to the future of the developing world and for global economic progress. Crowdsourcing, combined with other UN-supported initiatives such as professional capacity building, may be a real solution to this problem.

Source: RICS