South African Journal of Geomatics

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A New Conceptual Model for the Continuum of Land Rights

J Whittal


This paper presents a new conceptual model for the land rights continuum. In developing the argument for the proposed model, the theoretical assumptions of the former model are challenged and an understanding of land rights and tenure elements is explored. The evolutionary approach is rejected in order to accommodate diversity and reflect the coexistence of multiple forms of land rights. In order to inform the development of a new model, a systems understanding is used to identify five primary elements of land rights and land tenure. These are expanded in a tabular form in the Appendix to the paper. An aspect of this is land value and the degree of simplicity/complexity in land value is found to be well-aligned with the land rights types in the former continuum model. This is adopted as a suitable substitute for the former measure of informality/formality when locating land rights types on the horizontal axis. Legitimacy, legality and complexity are identified as indicators of land tenure security. These lead to the triple vertical indices of land tenure security in the new model. The range of land rights options in use, their associated land tenure, as well as mobility of people and flexibility of land parcels between land rights types, can be modelled.

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