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: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marthe Derkzen
Website
Guest Editor
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
Interests: socioenvironmental justice; climate adaptation; ecosystem services and restoration; stewardship of the commons
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Christine Richter
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management (PGM), Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Netherlands
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

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 1000 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 (13 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Beyond Fires and Deforestation: Tackling Land Subsidence in Peatland Areas, a Case Study from Riau, Indonesia
Land 2019, 8(5), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8050076 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Peatland plays an important ecological and economic role in many countries all over the world. At the same time, due to various human and non-human interventions, peatland is also a fragile ecosystem, which is currently facing severe problems, such as deforestation, fires, and [...] Read more.
Peatland plays an important ecological and economic role in many countries all over the world. At the same time, due to various human and non-human interventions, peatland is also a fragile ecosystem, which is currently facing severe problems, such as deforestation, fires, and peat subsidence. Peat subsidence is currently one of the most severe but least recognized issues. Because of its interconnectedness with other peatland problems, peat subsidence intensifies when there is a lack of proper interventions. In this paper, types of problems that arise along with and from peat subsidence and how various actors deal with it are going to be analysed. This paper illustrates an example from peatland areas in Indonesia and addresses two questions: (1) what kinds of problems are related to peat subsidence? In addition, (2) how do various actors deal with peat subsidence and what are the consequences of their interventions? Based on in-depth interviews with key persons from government institutions and NGOs, followed by focus group discussions with communities, analyses of policies, and desk study, this research discovered that peat subsidence is a hidden problem that is highly interconnected with other peatland problems that have caused severe physical-environment and socioeconomic impacts. While various actors have taken numerous interventions to deal with deforestation and fires, those concerning peat subsidence are still limited. Since dealing with peatland problems as a whole requires an ecosystem-based intervention, a more comprehensive approach is needed to manage peat subsidence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Slow Displacement of Smallholder Farming Families: Land, Hunger, and Labor Migration in Nicaragua and Guatemala
Land 2019, 8(6), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8060089 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Smallholders worldwide continue to experience processes of displacement from their lands under neoliberal political-economic governance. This displacement is often experienced as “slow”, driven by decades of agricultural policies and land governance regimes that favor input-intensive agricultural and natural resource extraction and export projects [...] Read more.
Smallholders worldwide continue to experience processes of displacement from their lands under neoliberal political-economic governance. This displacement is often experienced as “slow”, driven by decades of agricultural policies and land governance regimes that favor input-intensive agricultural and natural resource extraction and export projects at the expense of traditional agrarian practices, markets, and producers. Smallholders struggle to remain viable in the face of these forces, yet they often experience hunger. To persist on the land, often on small parcels, families supplement and finance farm production with family members engaging in labor migration, a form of displacement. Outcomes, however, are uneven and reflect differences in migration processes as well as national and local political economic processes around land. To demonstrate “slow displacement”, we assess the prolonged confluence of land access, hunger, and labor migration that undermine smallholder viability in two separate research sites in Nicaragua and Guatemala. We draw on evidence from in-depth interviews and focus groups carried out from 2013 to 2015, together with a survey of 317 households, to demonstrate how smallholders use international labor migration to address persistent hunger, with the two cases illuminating the centrality of underlying land distribution questions in labor migration from rural spaces of Central America. We argue that smallholder farming family migration has a dual nature: migration is at once evidence of displacement, as well as a strategy for families to prolong remaining on the land in order to produce food. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
One City for All? The Characteristics of Residential Displacement in Southwest Washington, DC
Land 2019, 8(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8020034 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
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 AccessArticle
Rent-Seeking Practices, Local Resource Curse, and Social Conflict in Uganda’s Emerging Oil Economy
Land 2019, 8(4), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8040053 - 27 Mar 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
We consider the different types of rent-seeking practices in emerging oil economies, and discuss how they contribute to social conflict and a local resource curse in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda. The rent-seeking activities have contributed to speculative behavior, competition for limited [...] Read more.
We consider the different types of rent-seeking practices in emerging oil economies, and discuss how they contribute to social conflict and a local resource curse in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda. The rent-seeking activities have contributed to speculative behavior, competition for limited social services, land grabbing, land scarcity, land fragmentation, food insecurity, corruption, and ethnic polarization. Local people have interpreted the experience of the consequent social impacts as a local resource curse. The impacts have led to social conflicts among the affected communities. Our research used a range of methods, including 40 in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation, and document analysis. We argue there is an urgent need by all stakeholders—including local and central governments, oil companies, local communities, and civil society organizations—to address the challenges before the construction of oil infrastructure. Stakeholders must work hard to create the conditions that are needed to avoid the resource curse; otherwise, Uganda could end up suffering from the Dutch Disease and Nigerian Disease, as has befallen other African countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Nexus between Displacement and Land Administration: The Case of Rwanda
Land 2019, 8(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8040055 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In conflict situations, many people are displaced because of hostility and arms in the area. Displaced people are forced to leave behind their properties, and this in turn interrupts the relationship between people and their land. The emergency period in particular has been [...] Read more.
In conflict situations, many people are displaced because of hostility and arms in the area. Displaced people are forced to leave behind their properties, and this in turn interrupts the relationship between people and their land. The emergency period in particular has been identified as a weak point in the humanitarian response to land issues in post-conflict situations. In addition, during this period of response, most post-conflict governments do not prioritize land administration as an emergency issue due to other social, economic, security, and political challenges, which countries face in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. In the longer run, this results in post-conflict illegal land occupation, secondary occupation, numerous disputes and claims over land, and dysfunctional government institutions that legalize these illegal and secondary occupations. This research explores the nexus between displacement and land administration in a post-conflict context. It uses empirical data from fieldwork in Rwanda, and discusses how government interventions in land administration in emergency and early recovery periods of post-conflict situations affect future land administration during the reconstruction phase. The post-conflict Rwandan government envisaged proper land administration as a contributor to sustainable peace and security as it enhances social equity and prevents conflicts. Thus, it embarked on a nationwide systematic land registration program to register land all over the country with the aim of easing land administration practices and reducing successive land-related claims and disputes. However, the program faced many challenges, among which were continuous land claims and disputes. Our research anticipates these continued land claims and disputes are due to how land issues were handled in the emergency and early recovery period of the post-conflict Rwanda, especially during land sharing initiatives and Imidugudu (collective settlement policy). 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
Land 2019, 8(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8030044 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
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 AccessPerspective
War-Induced Displacement: Hard Choices in Land Governance
Land 2019, 8(6), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8060088 - 01 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Civil war and violence often force large numbers of people to leave their lands. Multiple waves of displacement and (partial) return generate complex overlapping claims that are not easily solved. As people return to their regions of origin—sometimes after decades—they tend to find [...] Read more.
Civil war and violence often force large numbers of people to leave their lands. Multiple waves of displacement and (partial) return generate complex overlapping claims that are not easily solved. As people return to their regions of origin—sometimes after decades—they tend to find their land occupied by other settlers, some of whom hold legal entitlements. In the places of arrival, displaced people affect other people’s access as they seek to turn their temporary entitlements into more definite claims. The overlapping claims related to displacement pose serious dilemmas to land governance, which existing land laws and land governance institutions are not well-equipped to deal with. This paper outlines the main challenges for land governance as a first step to move the debate forward. The paper summarises the key challenges around three tensions: first, between short term conflict resolution and structural solutions; second, between state and customary/community-based governance; and finally, between principles (such as the right to return or restitution) and acknowledgement of the new situation. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Land Governance from a Mobilities Perspective
Land 2020, 9(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9020032 - 21 Jan 2020
Abstract
People have always been on the move, either in search for greener pastures, both figuratively and literally speaking, or in order to escape war, persecution, famine, or environmental hazard [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Migration, Youth, and Land in West Africa: Making the Connections Work for Inclusive Development
Land 2019, 8(4), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8040060 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a short-term research project conducted in 2017/2018 on the various ways in which migration and land dynamics in West Africa are intertwined. Contrary to much conventional (policy) thinking in the European Union (EU) today, our point of [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a short-term research project conducted in 2017/2018 on the various ways in which migration and land dynamics in West Africa are intertwined. Contrary to much conventional (policy) thinking in the European Union (EU) today, our point of departure is not that migration is the problem to be solved – nor that (access to) land is the straightforward means to discouraging migration. Drawing on local case studies in four West African countries, this research aims to shed light on the various relationships between migration and land, and to analyze to what extent they may contribute to or obstruct (local) inclusive and sustainable development in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Benin. In doing so, we aim to offer food for thought concerning possible ways for making the connection between migration and land more fruitful and productive for as many people as possible, especially in relation to the opportunities and constraints facing different categories of West African youth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expropriation of Real Property in Kigali City: Scoping the Patterns of Spatial Justice
Land 2019, 8(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8020023 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
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
Land 2019, 8(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8020037 - 21 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
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
Land 2019, 8(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8020031 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
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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Open AccessArticle
Expansion of Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia’s Frontier: Problems of Externalities and the Future of Local and Indigenous Communities
Land 2019, 8(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8040056 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The expansion of oil palm plantations in Papua province, Indonesia, involves the conversion of forests, among other land types in the landscapes, which are a source of clan members’ livelihoods. The way in which this expansion occurs makes it necessary to understand the [...] Read more.
The expansion of oil palm plantations in Papua province, Indonesia, involves the conversion of forests, among other land types in the landscapes, which are a source of clan members’ livelihoods. The way in which this expansion occurs makes it necessary to understand the factors associated with why companies look for frontier lands and what externalities are generated during both the land acquisition and plantation development periods. Using a spatial analysis of the concession areas, along with data from household surveys of each clan from the Auyu, Mandobo, and Marind tribes who release land to companies, we find that investors are motivated to profit from timber harvested from the clearing of lands for plantations, activity that is facilitated by the local government. Land acquisition and plantation development have resulted in externalities to indigenous landowners in the form of time and money lost in a series of meetings and consultations involving clan members and traditional elders. Other externalities include the reduced welfare of people due to loss of livelihoods, and impacts on food security. Full article
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