The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 11 Urbanisation and growth management

Land acquisition for new towns

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Property acquisition

Settlements need parents. Settlements require land. Roads can be built on private land, but a genuine 'highway', which interconnects a community, cannot be made without the compulsory acquisition of land. Nor can towns. Regrettably and inevitably, it follows that some injustice must be done to existing landowners when a new highway, or a settlement, is built. They should be compensated by paying a generous premium. It could be 25% to 100% above the value of the land in its existing use. Since the value of land may rise 1000%fold on conversion from rural to urban, the premium is not excessive from a community point of view. Who then should provide the development capital for making a new village? An answer can be reached by considering the nature of a 'settlement'. To settle is to 'become established in more or less permanent abode'. The etymology is from setl 'a place to sit'. Settlement is a most ancient procedure, as humanity spread across the globe. If the aim is to establish a community, community action is required. Parents make gifts to their children and existing communities should make gifts to new communities. It is good to have a group of city parents. In the old days, they were known as 'city fathers' and entrusted with the task of representing the interests of future inhabitants. City parents should act as a client body for the design team and behave in a manner which is distinct from the board of directors of an industrial company or a new town development corporation. Short term profit matters - but so do education, conservation, recreation and many other types of value.