The Earth issue

Oliver Parsons

Editor of Modus (RICS)

The school where you and your children were educated has been at the heart of your community for 30 years. And now it’s been given two weeks to vacate the premises – because someone else is claiming that they own the land it stands on.

Impossible? The scary truth is, it’s entirely possible – if you live in a country with poor land tenure security.

It’s a problem affecting millions, causing economic insecurity, encouraging corruption and in many cases forming a fundamental block on development activity.

That’s why a far greater level of attention is now being given to the issue, and lawyers, surveyors and local people are all playing a role in improving how we record, enforce and protect land rights. In our lead feature, we assess the scale of this challenge, and the opportunities that success could open up.

Elsewhere in this issue:

  • At the end of 2015, countries from across the world approved a landmark UN global climate accord with the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. Then Donald Trump, a man with very different ideas about climate change, was elected US president. What happens next?
  • As the polar ice melts, the Arctic is being thought of less as an impossibly remote and inhospitable natural wilderness… and more a resource-rich landscape ready for exploitation. We assess who is involved, and what is at stake in the scramble for its resources.
  • In the digital age, what is a map? We speak to a new breed of professionals who are taking the map away from its two-dimensional origins and turning it into an open-source, living medium.

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