Special Issue "Land Governance and (Im)mobility: Exploring the Nexus between Land Acquisition, Displacement and Migration"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Marthe Derkzen

Department of Human Geography and Planning – Social Urban Transitions, Faculty of Geosciences, LANDac & Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, Room 5.34, 3584 CB UTRECHT, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: (urban) land and water governance; socio-environmental justice; climate adaptation; ecosystem services and restoration; stewardship of the commons
Guest Editor
Dr. Christine Richter

Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management (PGM), Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: digitalization and datafication in urban and land governance; citizens’ role in smart city development; citizen perceptions; mobile geo-technologies in land rights documentation and registration
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers

Department of Human Geography and Planning – International Development Studies, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, Room 6.06, 3584 CB UTRECHT, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0031-302532442
Interests: land governance; migration; livelihood analysis; impact assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to submit your paper for open access publication in this Special Issue of Land, “Land Governance and (Im)mobility: Exploring the Nexus between Land Acquisition, Displacement and Migration”. This Special Issue takes the land–mobility nexus as a starting point and focuses on the multiple ways in which access and rights to land relate to mobility processes.

Providing people with secure and equal access to land is fundamental in giving people the “right to remain”, but land acquisitions simultaneously contribute to evictions and displacements, and the resettlement of groups. Up to now, the discussion has focused on respecting land rights, informing residents in advance, and, in the case of forced displacement, offering fair compensation. Given the variety of mobilities, what are good ways forward in land governance? How can land governance contribute to inclusive development—preventing eviction and displacement, while supporting vulnerable groups to settle in safe places and build secure and sustainable livelihoods?

How can property regimes (and ideas of fixing people to the land) move along with these changes and be made more suitable? How do economic transformations – value chain integration, market liberalization or reregulation—affect the ability of people to make a living on their lands? What do we know about the stability of ´foreign´ investor communities—and what are the implications of their land investments for the (im)mobility of local communities? At the heart of the debate are the Sustainable Development Goals—what is the role of land governance in the context of the ambition to “leave no one behind”?

This Special Issue emerges from contributions of the LANDac Annual International Conference that takes place 28–29 June, 2018, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. You are invited to submit an abstract by 15 September 2018 and full-paper manuscripts to Land by 15 January 2019. Contributions may address the Special Issue topic from different angles and focus on, for example:

  • Infrastructure development and involuntary settlement
  • Land reforms and conflict-induced displacement
  • Gender differentials, specifically women’s and youth’s role in migration and resettlement processes
  • Strategies of inclusive governance and inclusive business in the context of displacement induced migration (including, but also going beyond fair compensation, informed consent)
  • The role of digital and data technologies in monitoring and governing displacement induced mobility.

Dr. Marthe Derkzen
Dr. Christine Richter
Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 750 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Land governance
  • Land rights
  • Migration
  • Displacement
  • Land investments
  • Fair compensation
  • UN SDGs
  • Inclusive cities
  • Water-Energy-Food Nexus
  • Land-based financing

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Open AccessArticle One City for All? The Characteristics of Residential Displacement in Southwest Washington, DC
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper examines two periods of renewal in Washington, DC, USA’s southwest quadrant and their relationship with displacement. The paper situates this discussion within both the local historical continuum and globally-recognized paradigms, such as “the right to the city”. This article primarily serves [...] Read more.
This paper examines two periods of renewal in Washington, DC, USA’s southwest quadrant and their relationship with displacement. The paper situates this discussion within both the local historical continuum and globally-recognized paradigms, such as “the right to the city”. This article primarily serves as an overview of urban planning consequences in Southwest Washington DC based on extant academic literature and policy briefs. Compared with the abrupt physical displacement in the 1950s and 1960s precipitated by a large-scale federally funded urban raze and rebuild project, urban planning in present-day DC includes mechanisms for public engagement and provisions for housing security. However, countervailing economic incentives and rapid demographic changes have introduced anxieties about involuntary mobility that the literature suggests may be born out of forced or responsive displacement. Two potential case studies in the area warrant future study to understand present-day mobilities in the context of the economic and socio-cultural factors shaping the actions of present and prospective residents and decision-makers. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperEssay How Far Does the European Union Reach? Foreign Land Acquisitions and the Boundaries of Political Communities
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
The recent global surge in large-scale foreign land acquisitions marks a radical transformation of the global economic and political landscape. Since land that attracts capital often becomes the site of expulsions and displacement, it also leads to new forms of migration. In this [...] Read more.
The recent global surge in large-scale foreign land acquisitions marks a radical transformation of the global economic and political landscape. Since land that attracts capital often becomes the site of expulsions and displacement, it also leads to new forms of migration. In this paper, I explore this connection from the perspective of a political philosopher. I argue that changes in global land governance unsettle the congruence of political community and bounded territory that we often take for granted. As a case study, I discuss the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive as a significant driver of foreign land acquisitions. Using its global power, the European Union (EU) is effectively governing land far outside of its international borders and with it the people who live on this land or are expelled from it. As a result, EU citizens ought to consider such people fellow members of their political community. This has implications for normative debates about immigration and, in particular, for arguments that appeal to collective self-determination to justify a right of political communities to exclude newcomers. The political community to which EU citizens belong reaches far beyond the EU’s official borders. Full article
Open AccessArticle Expropriation of Real Property in Kigali City: Scoping the Patterns of Spatial Justice
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
The key question in this article is the extent to which current real property expropriation practices in Kigali city promote spatial justice. Current studies focus on the ambiguous manner in which real property valuation had been regulated by the expropriation law of 2007, [...] Read more.
The key question in this article is the extent to which current real property expropriation practices in Kigali city promote spatial justice. Current studies focus on the ambiguous manner in which real property valuation had been regulated by the expropriation law of 2007, leading to unfair compensation and various conflicts between expropriating agencies and expropriated people. Following its amendment in 2015, the law currently provides clearer procedures for valuation and fair compensation, based on the market prices. Using indicators that measure spatial justice, this study evaluates if the current expropriation processes result in spatial justice, consisting of procedural, recognitional and redistributive justice. These indicators are described using three dimensions of spatial justice: rules, processes and outcomes. Data were collected through household surveys, focus group discussions, stakeholders’ interviews and observations in four urban neighbourhoods where expropriation has taken place in Kigali city. Interpretative and statistical analysis of the data reveals some patterns of procedural, recognitional and redistributive justice in the rules dimension. There is no indication of any pattern for other dimensions. This relates to limited budgets of expropriating agencies which insufficiently follow the law. The consequence is the decreased redistributive justice in the compensation and the increase in the displacement effect of expropriation. Although, counter-valuations result in fair compensation, there is limited evidence for good trends of spatial justice in the whole process of expropriation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Who Controls the City in the Global Urban Era? Mapping the Dimensions of Urban Geopolitics in Beira City, Mozambique
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
In recent years, a new era of interventionism has emerged targeting the development of African cities, manifested in ‘fantasy’ urban plans, surging infrastructure investments and global policy agendas. What the implications of this new era will be for specific urban contexts is still [...] Read more.
In recent years, a new era of interventionism has emerged targeting the development of African cities, manifested in ‘fantasy’ urban plans, surging infrastructure investments and global policy agendas. What the implications of this new era will be for specific urban contexts is still poorly understood however. Taking this research agenda as a starting point, this article presents findings of in-depth empirical research on urban development in Beira city, Mozambique, which has recently become the recipient of massive donor investments targeting the built environment. Informed by current debates on urban geopolitics, the article unpacks these mounting global flows while locating them alongside pre-existing struggles over urban space. By doing so three distinct yet inter-related dimensions of urban geopolitics are identified, relating to the workings of the state, so-called ‘informality’ and international donors. Far from representing homogeneous categories, these dimensions each represent contradictory practices and interests which are shaping Beira’s urban trajectory. The article concludes by arguing that the inflow of donor resources has exacerbated pre-existing struggles over urban space while contributing to new contentions in ways which have undermined social equity targets of contemporary global development agendas. In doing so it provides important contributions to current debates on urban development in Africa Full article
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Open AccessArticle Land Governance in Post-Conflict Settings: Interrogating Decision-Making by International Actors
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract
Humanitarian and development organizations working in conflict-affected settings have a particular responsibility to do no harm and contribute to the wellbeing of the population without bias. The highly complex, politicized realities of work in conflict- and post-conflict settings often require quick, pragmatic and [...] Read more.
Humanitarian and development organizations working in conflict-affected settings have a particular responsibility to do no harm and contribute to the wellbeing of the population without bias. The highly complex, politicized realities of work in conflict- and post-conflict settings often require quick, pragmatic and results-oriented decisions, the foundations of which remain frequently implicit. Such decisions might follow an intrinsic logic or situational pragmatism rather than intensive deliberation. This paper reflects on the realities of working on land governance in post-conflict settings shaped by migration, ethnic division, power struggles and limited statehood. Using case examples from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi, this paper reflects on the drivers of decisions around land governance in such contexts in a structured, theoretically informed way. Drawing on the author’s own experience with supporting land rights work and utilizing Giddens’ concept of the Duality of Structure, this article provides an analysis of actors and structures that sheds light on the factors that affect the decision-making of practitioners relating to land rights in post-conflict areas of limited statehood. Full article
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