Urbanization is increasing at a fast pace all over the world. In fact, according to the UN, 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. The world population is seeing a gradual shift from rural to urban, especially in the Asian and African regions. The report also states that most of this urban population is expected to be highly concentrated in a few countries. India, China, and Nigeria alone account for 35% of this projected growth.
This fast-paced urbanization and population growth demands policies for the provision and regulation of the urban land. Therefore, it has become absolutely necessary to understand the key trends in urbanization and forge a sustainable urban development framework. Governments need to manage urban growth to make sure all societies can benefit from urbanization equally. In order to achieve that, they need to ensure access to social services, infrastructure, housing, health, education, and more to provide a safe environment for people. This is where Land Pooling comes in.
What is Land Pooling?
Land Pooling is a technique used for effective town planning or development of urban areas. Land Pooling goes by many names including, Land Readjustment, Land Reconstitution, and more. In this technique, small parts of the land are pooled together to maximize space and make something bigger.
Some of the challenges faced by the authorities in the face of population growth are providing all the public amenities, including roads, parks, hospitals, etc., and managing urban growth.
Large-scale projects, including housing societies and other amenities, are necessary for urban development. However, it requires a lot of land to begin with. Land Pooling is therefore essential for urban growth because it collects parts of land from different owners to develop something bigger.
Land Pooling and Reconstitution
As discussed above, urbanization is taking place mostly in already populated regions, and most are developing or third-world countries. These developing nations do not have a stable financial structure which ultimately leads to low investment in the infrastructure sector.
Therefore, in the face of this rising urbanization, it makes it really hard for the authorities to regulate urban development and provide people with the necessities properly. There is also a lot of resistance against government land acquisition for urban development purposes.
In light of all these issues, Land Pooling and Reconstructions seem like a viable solution to provide well-planned urban areas for the people that can cater to their social needs. LPR faces less resistance because there is a public agency involved that collects multiple properties held by private owners.
LPR not only benefits the government as they can easily finance the urban development projects, but it also proves beneficial for landowners as the value of their land goes up after the provision of infrastructure. Therefore, it is a win-win situation.
Land Pooling for Urban Development – Example
The problem doesn’t only lie with new urban development projects. Renewal of old areas is also a big challenge for the government authorities. The landowners don’t accept resettlement with compensation, which creates further issues for the authorities.
Therefore, in such situations, LPR offers an attractive solution for both the government and landowners. Land Pooling has been successfully adopted in countries like Japan, China, Germany, and multiple European countries.
Land Pooling has been successfully implemented in Hong Kong, where more than 6 million people live in a total area of 1092 square kilometers. Hong Kong also faced a lot of immigrants from mainland China during the 2000s.
Therefore, urban development and management were not a choice anymore but a necessity. The government introduced the Land Ordinance (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) that allowed the majority shareholder to place an order for the sale of the lot for the purpose of renewal of infrastructure.
It has played an important role in helping local land developers and public agencies to acquire land for redevelopment and to cater to the growing urban populations.
Figure: Lai Sang Court Re-development – Land Pooling in Hong Kong (Source: Land Readjustment: An Innovative Urban Experiment in China)
This was a successful experiment in Hong Kong due to several reasons. First, the owners were allowed to resell their contracts in the market to a potential investor. Moreover, the government also provided compensation to the displaced owners in terms of cash for re-housing during the construction and redevelopment period.
Therefore, with Land Pooling, authorities can convert the urban renewal process into a bilateral contract in which all parties get benefits. The case of Hong Kong shows that Land Pooling and Reconstitution (LPR) can be implemented in the modern world to tackle the issue of urban growth and renewal.
However, a lot of care needs to be taken in terms of compensation and resettlement negotiation with the owners of the properties to decrease the risks. With proper planning, you can decrease social conflicts among the societies during the urban renewal projects and also achieve cost-effectiveness. Land Pooling is a great planning tool that is adopted all around the world in various forms, and it is proof that you can address urban redevelopment in an innovative and successful manner. However, it needs thorough information and data analysis before moving forward with the plan.
It is recommended to take engage developers to develop a detailed analysis of the urban area in question to make sure all variables are accounted for. If implemented correctly, LPR can lead to cost-effective urban management to ensure happy urban dwellers and societies.
As the world population continues to rise with a rapid increase in urbanization, sustainable urban development depends upon how we manage urban growth, especially in developing and third-world countries. Most countries where the urban growth rate is the highest are facing challenges in managing and meeting the basic needs of their citizens, including education, housing, health care, etc.
Therefore, we need practical approaches to urbanization like Land Pooling and Reconstitution (LPR) to improve the lives of both urban and rural citizens and to ensure a strong tie between both areas to ensure prosperity.
Author Bio: Myrah Abrar is a computer science graduate with a passion for web development and digital marketing. She writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions, Software in Pakistan.