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Setting It Up
Regularization of Land

Included are several summaries of articles dealing with ways of carrying out land readjustment. One details an example from Sri Lanka on reblocking together with the community. A second deals with Land Sharing in Bangkok where the slum dwellers meet with the land owner and agree on a reorganization, and a third deals with temporary removal and rationalization of the plot layout, or Land Pooling as it is sometimes called.

(See in Glossary: Land Pooling, Land Readjustment, Land Reconstitution)

Land Sharing in Bangkok

Land Sharing as an Alternative to Eviction. Shlomo Angel and Somsook Boonyabancha. In Third World Planning Review, 10 (2) 1988.

A unique approach to the resolution of slum eviction conflicts has evolved in Bangkok. Slum dwellers faced with imminent eviction have organized and bargained successfully for a share of the land they currently occupy, and landlords – usually after protracted negotiations –have agreed to sell or lease them the land.
The five basic requisites of land sharing are:

Community organization: Negotiations for land sharing require that slum dwellers organize to counter the thread of eviction.

A land sharing agreement: This requires a binding agreement to partition the land. Usually the land parcel with the best development potential is allocated to the landlord.

Densification: Rehousing the community in a smaller area requires increased residential densities.

Reconstruction: The increase in density and the need to clear part of the site usually necessitates the reconstruction of houses.

Capital investment: Reconstruction requires capital from the domestic savings of the residents or loans from outside sources.

Land sharing is increasingly viable in the following situations:

  • The lower the development pressure.
  • The better the cooperation of the landlord.
  • The more legitimate is the occupation of the land by the slum dwellers.
  • The earlier the stage in the eviction process.
  • The stronger the community leadership.
  • The stronger the support from outside agencies.
  • The lower the existing residential density.
  • The smaller the existing size of houses.
  • The lower the value of existing houses.
  • The higher the ability to pay for housing.
  • The better the access to sources of housing finance.

Land sharing usually results in major improvements in housing and a significant increase in asset formation. The conditions for its success are assessed by comparing land sharing slums with other slums with potential for land sharing. Land sharing is not successful where communities are weak, and once implemented may result in the resale of some of the houses, which then command a higher market value.

Land Sharing in Bangkok
Four Examples
Rama IV Project
Manangkasila Project
Wat Lad Bua Kaw Project
Sam Yod Project
Drawings from:
Land Sharing as an Alternative to Eviction. Shlomo Angel and Somsook Boonyabancha. In Third World Planning Review, 10 (2) 1988.

Land Pooling: The Benefits,
Conditions for Success, and Steps

Excerpt from:
“The Use of the Land Pooling/Readjustment Technique to Improve Land Development in Bangkok.” Archer, R.W. HSD Working Paper no 10 (Bangkok: Urban Land Program, Human Settlements Division, Asian Institute of Technology, August, 1983) 1-8.

Urban land pooling is a technique for carrying out the unified servicing and subdivision of separate landholdings for planned urban development. It is also know as urban land consolidation, land readjustment, land replotting, and land redistribution in particular countries because it involves these processes. It is widely used in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and in some cities in Australia and Canada. A somewhat similar technique known as plot reconstitution is used in some cities in India.

Land pooling can be used for:

    consolidating separate landholdings for their unified subdivision for the planned pattern of urban land uses;

    achieving the timely servicing and subdivision of urban-fringe landholdings to a good standard; and for

    financing the cost of providing the road and public utility service networks out of the related land value increases.

    ensuring an adequate supply of land for new housing development.

The Benefits of Land Pooling
The conversion of urban-fringe lands from rural to urban uses usually takes place by the separate subdivision of the separate landholdings and is subject to the problems of scattered land and building development, poor subdivision design, backlogs in the provision of public utility and road works, land shortages, excessive land speculation and high land prices. Land pooling can reduce these problems. It can provide many of the benefits of large-scale land development projects. Pooling can improve the process of land subdivision for urban development in ten possible ways. The consolidation of small landholdings for their unified planning, servicing, subdivision and redistribution by a government agency provides the opportunity.

    1. To achieve a good standard of subdivision design and engineering works;
    2. To design the subdivision layout for the planned urban land uses;
    3. To carry out the land servicing and subdivision works (i.e., the construction of the roadworks and public utility reticulation works within the project area) efficiently and economically;
    4. To provide the land for public streets and open spaces at no cost to government;
    5. To provide the land subdivision works at no cost of government;
    6. To share the costs and returns of land subdivision between the landowners in an equitable way;
    7. To recover the costs of land subdivision from the related land value increases within the project;
    8. To create new sites with clear land titles when the ownership of landholdings is disputed;
    9. To achieve the timely subdivision of urban-fringe landholdings for orderly urban expansion; and
    10. To counter excessive land speculation and ensure an adequate supply of land for new housing development.

Pooling can therefore provide real benefits, but they are not automatic benefits. Each project has to be soundly conceived, properly organised and well-managed. Most of the benefits listed can be provided by individual land pooling projects. The final two benefits, achieving progressive urban expansion and an adequate supply of land for new housing development, depend upon successfully programming and coordinating the various pooling projects with the other land subdivision projects in-progress into a coherent program for metropolitan expansion and land supply.

The pooling technique can also be used to provide land for low-income housing. This could be done by allocating a proportion of the land area in each project for sale at cost or below cost to the public housing authority for the provision of low-income housing. Alternatively, the government agency managing the pooling project could be allocated a proportion of the new sites for low-income housing purposes in recognition of its role as the project manager contributing its government powers and status to the successful implementation of the project. The formula for determining the proportion of the land area or new sites to be allocated for low-income housing would have to take into account the amount of the net land value gain going to the landowners.

Conditions for Successful Land Pooling
A number of factors contribute to the success of pooling projects. It is appropriate to use the land pooling technique when:

    i. The relevant local government (or other government pooling agency) is genuinely interested in achieving orderly urban development to a planned pattern of urban land use;
    ii. The ownership of the urban-fringe lands is fragmented into numerous separate holdings;
    iii. The urban-fringe lands are ripe for urban development with the utility network mains nearby and a market demand for serviced sites for building development;
    iv. A majority of the landowners in a proposed pooling area understand and support the use of pooling;
    v. The central government has set up machinery to authorise and regulate the preparation and implementation of pooling projects.

Assuming that these general conditions are met then each pooling project will also need to be financially viable and soundly managed. Each project will need to generate land value increases sufficient to cover the project costs and leave the landowners with a significant land value gain. Each project will need to be well-managed in order to achieve efficient and economical land servicing and subdivision. This financial viability and sound management is assisted by the preparation and publication of a pooling scheme for each project. The scheme should be supported by a financial plan. The pooling agency will need to liaise and consult with the landowners and government works authorities, particularly in preparing the scheme, in order to obtain their support and cooperation.

Bangkok, Thailand: King Petch walk.
Thailand has extensive, successful experience
in the land pooling process.
Photo: R. Goethert.
Land Pooling Steps

The main steps and stages in carrying out a typical pooling project can be listed as follows:

    1. Identification of the group of adjoining landholdings for pooling which is then designated as the land pooling area;
    2. Assessment of the value of each landholding in order to calculate each landowner’s share in the project;
    3. Preparation of a draft pooling scheme (and supporting financial plan) in consultation with the landowners and the relevant government authorities (the highway, public utility, etc. authorities);
    4. Public exhibition, review and amendment of the draft scheme followed by central government approval of the final scheme and its publication;
    5. Preparation of engineering works designs;
    6. Compulsory acquisition and consolidation of the landholdings, roads, etc. in the designated pooling area;
    7. Raising of short-term loan for working capital;
    8. Carrying out of land servicing and subdivision works by contractors and relevant government authorities;
    9. Physical and legal subdivision of land into streets, parkland and sites for buildings;
    10. Sale of some of the building sites to recover costs and repay the loan;
    11. Distribution of the other sites to the landowners; and
    12. Final cash adjustments to achieve each landowner’s precise share of the project.

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Land pooling has been
especially successful in Thailand.
Photo: R. Goethert.
The First Land Pooling Project by the Kaohsiung City Government, Taiwan
Land Pooling Project Scans
Pattern of separate
landholdings before pooling
(Archer 3A)
Pattern after pooling - including
new street layout, parkland,
and sites for city expansion
Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
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