Welcome to the new-look Land Journal, with a fresh, cleaner design. The journal may look different but the content is as thought-provoking as always, with the same high technical standard.
This issue leads with a fascinating article from Thomson Reuters on designing systems to collect tax revenue from newly legalised cannabis farms in California. Previously, the cannabis economy was cash-based and informal, so software systems have had to be adapted to ensure fair and efficient revenue collection, potentially raising billions of dollars for the public good.
Informal land markets also present a challenge to conventional professional practice, a recent RICS insight paper examined for the first time how these markets work. James Kavanagh and Steven Matz go through the findings, while Liz Alden Wily discusses rising interest around the world in family and community land title, which could potentially rival individual and state ownership.
Dr Luise Noring also challenges norms by explaining how, in Scandinavia, new schemes are being used to raise money for urban development, replacing restrictive traditional banking and finance models. In her article, Susan Claris goes on to suggest that urban environments should be redesigned to encourage walking, which would bring many health and fitness benefits. Pedestrians also spend more in shops than those who drive to town centres, Transport for London has found.
Of course, nothing would be built without a constant supply of raw materials, and David Sandbrook outlines the key points in the first UK Minerals Strategy for the next 25 years, showing how these form the – literal and metaphorical – bedrock of the economy.
Finally, while this is the first Land Journal in its new format, it is also my last before I hand over to Sian Morgan as editor. During my four-and-a-half years at RICS, I have learned much about the land surveying profession, its influence, importance and variety – and how inspiring it can be in shaping the world we live in, wherever that is.
I hope that has been reflected in the journal.
Land Journal Editor
Mike edits the Land Journal. Previously, he worked for 25 years on national newspapers as a reporter and on news desks and was Science and Environment editor of the Daily Mirror.