Deferred Monumentation and the Shakedown factor
Any guarantee of secure title is only as good as our ability to clarify what land is being spoken about. However, in countries where the majority of boundaries are straight lines between marked turning points, experience shows that boundary features such as fences and walls are not always erected in sympathy with corner boundary marks. In other words, legally speaking, what right-holders see is not always what they get. This article explores two questions: first, whether the placing of boundary corner marks should be deferred until occupation lines have shaken down to positions mutually agreed by adjoining right-holders, and second, whether boundary marks should be placed only in specified conflict cases. For the first question, a case study of high density suburbs in Zimbabwe is considered, where legal boundary corner marks are typically placed some years after physical boundary features have been erected. This practice achieves a close congruence between physical and legal boundaries but also has drawbacks that make it difficult to justify deferring monumentation unless the later surveys are done at very low cost. The second question draws on the case of New Zealand, in particular the responses made to a proposal in 2007 to mark boundaries only in conflict cases but also to the implications for disaster situations offered by the Canterbury earthquake. The article finishes with a more global discussion stemming from the two case studies, and concludes that boundary marks placed early on in the development process serve a public as well as a private good function from early on in a suburb’s development through to its more mature phases, especially when related to a network of well defined survey marks. It is further concluded that boundary marks with well defined centres fulfil an important role in densifying urban survey control networks.
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Keywords: Boundary Marks; Beacons; Deferred Monumentation; Fixed and General Boundaries; Legal Coordinate Cadastres
Research Type: Journal Article