GIS and Land Readjustment in Nepal

GIS and Urbanization

Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural areas to urban areas, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change. As cities grow in number, spatial extent and density, their environmental and ecological footprints increase. Since Nepal has increased the number of municipalities and the service has increased in the same ratio. Municipalities are places having at least some minimum criteria of population and infrastructure and are declared as a municipality by the government. The population has increased in those areas and needed to manage as soon as possible.

Land Readjustment

Urbanization affects all sizes of settlements from small villages to towns to cities, leading up to the growth of mega-cities which have more than ten million people. One of the major steps for urbanization in Nepal can be Land Readjustment. Land readjustment (LR) may be defined as a land management tool which assists in orderly urban development through the contribution of landowners. The main objective of LR is to convert irregularly developed land parcels into suitable forms according to town planning requirements.

Performing a Land Readjustment work may take several months through a manual method. Now in this modern era of technologies, we can utilize GIS in the field of land readjustment for Valuation, Division, and Redistribution of land. A geographic Information System (GIS) is a collection of computer software and information which is used for viewing, analyzing, managing and displaying geographical data. Since its invention, it has widely been used in every sector of geographical sector. GIS also allows us to find out what is happening inside a specific area or nearby a specific area.

An urbanization perspective, it’s been used to analyze the impact people have on the environment, atmosphere, Health, economy and furthermore. So, it can be used to mitigate the effects of urbanization in newly formed municipalities of Nepal.

The many benefits of using GIS in urban planning include (Royal Town Planning Institute 1992):

  • Improved mapping in every possible sector.
  • Greater efficiency in the retrieval of information.
  • Faster and more extensive access to the types of geographical information is important to planning.
  • Improved analysis and policy making.

Why Land Readjustment For Urbanization?

With an aim to fulfil the requirements of the new constitution of Nepal in 2015, all old municipalities and villages development committees were restructured into 276 municipalities, and 460 rural municipalities. The major issue in the municipality areas is urbanization. Urbanization has become a major trend worldwide in recent years. According to the Census 2011 AD by the CBS, Nepal, the results have demonstrated that the urban population of Nepal has risen from 2.9 %  in 1952/1954 to 17 % in 2011 AD.

The concentration of population and housing is very high in urban areas. Most of the urban areas of Nepal are unplanned where the housing and infrastructure situation is worst. The government does not have enough resources to develop these infrastructures.

Land Readjustment

Ecological and Land protection/security has become a major issue under the circumstance of fast urbanization and the fast urban development has caused significant threats to natural area protection. Due to the newly constructed municipality, those areas might have chances to see these problems that need to be managed. Since land is a limited natural resource for human activities, it requires effective management systems. Especially, rapid urbanization requires serviceable land for public and private needs.

Land Readjustment is often brought into effect majorly with the objective of:

  • Sustainable development of new urban sites.
  • Redevelopment of an already urbanized area.
  • Improvement and expansion of public facilities.

Existing Land Readjustment process

In general, the land readjustment process currently following in Nepal can be listed as :

  • Official Decision on land pooling
  • Formation of the management committee
  • Survey of the project area, boundaries
  • Owner identification
  • Determination of land characteristics
  • Formation of landowners committee
  • New readjustment criteria
  • Calculation of returning plots
  • Approval of project
  • Demarcation of new boundaries
  • Registration of new plots
  • Distribution of new plots

In the context of Nepal, from merging plots to redistribution of plots and their valuation, no scientific approach is used. Everything is done according to previous practice, and experience and for valuation, they just increase the value of existing values of those lands without considering any factors such as availability of resources, land type, any risk factors and more.

Now we’ve features such as GIS which we can implement in the land readjustment process. There is a Land Readjustment System (LARES) system developed in GIS for more scientific land readjustment.

Integration of GIS in Land Readjustment

A value-based/scientific land readjustment approach certainly requires an effective information management system in order to accomplish the whole process in a successful way. GIS can work as this management system. GIS plays an important role in distributing parcels, assigning the value of land parcels considering different factors and their weight analysis, queries on parcels and so on.  Some of the tools and techniques that GIS uses in the land readjustment process are described in brief.

Division of parcels

GIS is the most efficient technology for editing and maintaining parcel features. GIS allows parcel managers, such as surveyors, tax assessors, and rights-of-way managers, to edit and maintain parcels. The existing project map is loaded in GIS then all are merged into a single parcel. Public spaces are distributed such as roads, parks, and other infrastructural buildings. A buffer from these areas is created. Then plots are distributed considering buffers from these public spaces and other facilities.

Parcel Division

The site blocks are automatically subdivided into the new patterns according to land-use planning details. No plots are biased using GIS. Parcel Editor Toolbar is widely used in the parcel subdivision sector.

The tool provides industry-specific functions, such as split by area, parcel merge, and parcel traverse. In addition to editing performance, users may optionally benefit from the unique ability of Parcel Editor to support positional accuracy management of an entire GIS through the least-squares calculation of corner positions.

Parcel Editor

Parcel Editor toolbar contains the tools and menu commands needed to access and work with your parcel fabric, for example, the Select Parcel Features tool, the New Parcel tool and the Parcel Details dialogue box. Other parcel editing tools and commands such as the Maintain Control Points dialogue box and the Parcel Explorer window are also available on the Parcel Editor Toolbar. You can also start and stop an edit session from the Parcel Editor Toolbar.

GIS Parcel Editor Tools

Valuation of parcels

Due to the complexity of the land valuation process, it is hard to make explanations to the property owners about how their property has been or can be valued is a continual challenge for planners and policymakers. In today’s world, GIS is able to execute all these complex tasks which were not even possible a few years back.

From GIS, we select different factors for valuation with their importance (i.e. weight). Considering these factors and weight value for every parcel is given which is a more justifiable value. A sample of factors and weight that can be given during analysis can be:

  11. ACCESS TO HIGHWAY                                     64.2
  12. SOIL CONDITION                                                 64.0
  13. DISTANCE TO SHOPPING CENTERS             63.9
  15. DISTANCE TO HEALTH SERVICES             59.5
  17. TOPOGRAPHY                                                 56.8
  18. DISTANCE TO RELIGIOUS PLACES             55.4
  19. DISTANCE TO FIRE STATION                         40.0

Land parcel data is grouped by characteristics essential to land market value: value zones, the purpose of use, agricultural land, size of the land parcel, productivity grade, and recreational use. These valuations are shown on a GIS map, and the user can access more information in the database through the map or through a textual query.

Significance of GIS

GIS facilitates the inclusion of many factors mentioned above in the model. Tax formulas can be automatically applied and computed. Because GIS is database driven, it can access data related to properties and calculate values using the tax model. The model can be updated to reflect current tax fees and laws. The mass land valuation uses minimum additional human, technical, and financial resources; saves time; and helps to produce quality valuation results. Land value maps and land parcel valuation models respect market valuation and changes in tax legislation.

Since the manual method is very subjective to the person who values land, it gives a lot of problems in the field. The major problem with this current method is there are so many differences between the values which have been conducted by different people. While one is focusing on the physical facilities mostly, at the same time another person would give more concentration on the leisure and the peacefulness in the area.

Actually, it is very difficult to value land by considering all these factors. Therefore, there should be a reasonable methodology and a common methodology for land valuation which is a combination of all the parameters. Initially, the proposed model can be used to have an idea about the area and it would be beneficial for the value. Since the model is a combination of a number of parameters which are used by the process, it is considering the individual influences of different parameters. Therefore, this kind of model can be recommended for the land valuation process.

Land Redistribution

GIS performs land redistribution using the results of land valuation analysis. With reference to the original locations of old parcels, they are reallocated within the site blocks. An optimal solution is provided to consolidate, divide, and redistribute the land parcels to owners. GIS make sure owners get land equivalent to their previous valuation of land before readjustment.

Query on land parcel

As all activities are done on GIS, it stores all spatial and non-spatial values about parcels. One can perform queries and search for what is needed. It is way faster than traditional paper-based methods. Any information about land parcels can be queried efficiently.

Advantages of using GIS in land readjustment

  1. Easier access to parcel information and query on a land parcel.
  2. Fare and transparent process.
  3. Valuation on a more scientific basis, no more fluctuating prices for buyers.
  4. Equal and easy access to infrastructure and facilities.
  5. Faster than the traditional readjustment process as it is GIS-based.
  6. Decreased human error in parcel distribution.

Land Management in Newly Formed Municipalities using GIS

In newly formed municipalities there is a dire need for land readjustment. Because “land is a finite resource”, the controlling of urban land changes requires careful analysis of spatial characteristics of the land particularly economic, social, and planning dimensions. Land Readjustment provides a practical approach to urbanization by dealing with these dimensions. The integration of LR with GIS provides great advantages to decision-makers. Using GIS in a multi-criteria land valuation analysis is more scientific and acceptable.

Property classification and immediate visual explanation of the plots give owners a justifiable approach. Especially, a visual value model can be easily understood by individuals unfamiliar with the land readjustment process. More importantly, GIS improves the quantitative and qualitative ability of LR with an effective land valuation analysis procedure. A GIS-based approach certainly increased the performance of LR. While providing an effective information management process, various complex and advanced tasks, such as land-valuation analysis and land redistribution have been accomplished in a short period of time.

You can read our other content about Land Use Planning and Policies on informalguru to get basic insights into the process of managing land.

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