FIG Peer Review Journal


Land Administration an Academic Discipline: To Be or Not to Be (5559)

Liza Groenendijk, Rohan Bennett, Paul Van Der Molen and Jaap Zevenbergen (Netherlands)
Ms. Liza Groenendijk
UNU School of Land Administration Studies
ITC, University of Twente
P.O. Box 6
7500 AA
Corresponding author Ms. Liza Groenendijk (email: groenendijk[at], tel.: + 31 (0) 53 4874 528)

[ abstract ] [ paper ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2012-03-08
Received 2011-11-01 / Accepted 2012-02-02
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2012 in Rome, Italy and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2012
ISBN 97887-90907-98-3 ISSN 2307-4086


This paper examines the status of land administration as an academic discipline. An evaluation approach for validating areas of study as academic disciplines is described. The approach is then applied to the domain of land administration. The following attributes are found to exist: formal definitions, a common knowledge base, structural elements on university level, graduate programs and students, both academic and professional associations, textbooks, discipline specific lingo, some icons and visible scholars, some researcher self-identification with the discipline, some accepted rules, recurring conferences, and a strong interaction between academia and the field of practice. The following attributes are still found to be wanting: unifying theories, procedures and methods of inquiry, a unique cluster of research problems, a shared vision, recurring journals, and a truly worldwide research community. In summary, at best, land administration represents a discipline in formation. Alternatively, it can be considered an emerging area of interdisciplinary study, however, still primarily based in the areas of land registration (land lawyers) and cadastre (geodesists/surveyors). It is concluded that scholars, including those beyond the traditional fields, and practitioners must work more collaboratively to overcome the areas of weakness. In doing so, the utility of land administration in assisting with the delivery of broader societal goals will be enhanced.
Keywords: Education; Capacity building; Cadastre; Land management; land administration; academic discipline; land registration