Town Planning Review

LANDac, International Land Governance Conference 2016, 30 June–1 July, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Town Planning Review (2017), 88, (2), 263–267.


Fennie M. van Straalen and Patrick A. Witte Conference Report LANDac, International Land Governance Conference 2016, 30 June–1 July, Utrecht, the Netherlands The Dutch Land Academy (the Netherlands Academy on Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development – LANDac) organised its annual conference on Land Governance in the Context of Urbanisation and Climate Change: Linking the Rural and Urban’ on 30 June–1 July 2016. A hundred and sixty participants – who presented studies originating from 33 countries – attended the conference and discussed papers in twenty thematic sessions. Additionally, the conference had keynotes, panel discussions and special sessions (documentary viewing, film project preview, societally oriented events and a subsequent PhD summer school). With its conference theme – linking the rural and the urban – LANDac changes orientation from a purely rural focus towards inclusion of the urban landscape. LANDac previously focused on land grabbing, rural development and agricultural business, but now, as Annelies Zoomers (chair of LANDac, Utrecht University) explained in the welcome session, urbanisation seems inevitable in the context of land governance. She emphasised the sudden urbanisation of rural areas when land use is rezoned to urban, and vice versa when political mood changes, creating uncertainty for communities on the fringe. She also addressed the exclusive nature of cities, pushing out those who cannot keep up with mobilisation, digitalisation and rising costs of living, subsequently creating (more) inequality. The conference aimed to identify dynamics of urban–rural linkages to establish the LANDac research agenda for the upcoming years. Keynotes During the conference several keynotes were given. George Payne (housing and urban development consultant in the UK) opened with a keynote entitled ‘Land governance in interesting times!’. He focused on peri-urban areas and pragmatic solutions to land tenure. According to Payne, rules are too complicated and change too often according to rezoning as rural or urban. Traditional (customary) law and statutory law meet in Fennie M. van Straalen and Patrick A. Witte are both Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, the Netherlands; email:,

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Author details

van Straalen, Fennie M.

Witte, Patrick A.