Land Journal April–May 2018

Mike Swain

Editor, Land Journal (RICS)

The housing crisis has moved up the political agenda recently, and featured prominently at this year’s Ecobuild conference.


Many ideas were put forward in debates on how to unblock the development system. Lord Deben suggested there should be a minister for land disposal, and that land for housing should be sold through a public corporation. Darren Rodwell, leader of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, claimed that his council had had success by combining its local knowledge with private assets to build the homes that the community actually needs. There were also calls for local authorities to be granted more powers to force land to be developed and, possibly, for bigger unitary authorities to take responsibility for housing development.

In this edition of the Land Journal, Michael Sander, who has considerable experience as a local authority executive, analyses what has gone wrong with the housing market since 1980. Among his suggestions is a new national housebuilding programme with enforceable targets for affordable homes.

Elsewhere in the issue, researchers from Create Streets write about their work on what actually contributes to the value of a place, based on data from six English cities … and there are some surprising results. Meanwhile, Chris Hoar summarises an RICS Insight paper into the threats and opportunities for surveyors arising from the advance of artificial intelligence.

Our main article, however, details further progress on the International Land Measurement Standards as they are prepared for presentation at conferences worldwide over the next couple of months. It is the end of a long road and a lot of hard work.

Finally, I would draw your attention to the article from Chris Lindsay on the revised land pathways and competencies being introduced by RICS. You will also find comment on these by our chairmen in their regular columns.

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