How Land Journal covered the key topics of 2023: part one

The first of two round-ups of the year shows that Land Journal continues to cover a breadth of disciplines from planning and sustainability to minerals and telecoms


  • Sian Morgan

19 December 2023

Global political challenges have affected all the land professions this year, prompting the journal to examine subjects from developments in the metaverse to the demand for a comprehensive UK minerals strategy. 

But with its remit to keep members across the board up to date, the journal has also provided insights into the future for SMEs, telecommunications and even the virtual landscape of the metaverse.

Venturing into the metaverse

With digital advances never far from the headlines this year, Land Journal looked at developments in – and development of – the metaverse.

Still in its formative stages, this could revolutionise the way we interact with each other and the world around us. But how might this affect surveyors in their various roles, and what are the legal implications of virtual land?

In their article exploring the potential and pitfalls of this brave new world, Deloitte LLP's Liz Neate and Jack O'Neill said that, as the metaverse is still an emerging concept, its governance is not yet fully established; neither is the way its real-estate economy operates.

However, as it grows and becomes more integrated with our daily lives, the concept of virtual landownership is expected to become an increasingly important aspect of the digital economy.

'One virtual land buyer reportedly purchased a plot of land next to rapper Snoop Dogg's virtual house in 2021 for $450,000'

Why reconstructing Ukraine will require planning reform

This summer, the journal covered a globally significant land issue in Ukraine. Oleksii Pedosenko, a master's student in regional and urban planning studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, looked at how reconstruction might work with international input.

A gargantuan effort will be necessary to restore the country's economy, and support from other powers will be critical to this. Clear processes to set up documentation of ownership are needed, and technology will also play a part in valuation and compensation.

Pedosenko explained how urban planning had worked before the war and outlined the best and worst outcomes. There are already many challenges to establishing a land-use framework in peaceful times, including overcoming corruption. After the war, sufficient finance will also be needed for rebuilding, as well as international expertise to help valuations for compensation.

'The war will necessitate a reconstruction effort on a scale unprecedented since the Marshall Plan'

Early career surveyors give insight on telecoms APC

Just this month, Land Journal dipped into a niche area full of potential for young surveyors, interviewing two members who only recently completed their APCs in telecoms. They shared their stories about how they got into the sector, their approach to studying, and experience working for a 'small but mighty' SME.

These young surveyors are keen to give something back to the profession, and one is already looking forward to training as an APC assessor and spreading the word about this sector among women.

The interviewees also offered tips for current APC candidates in telecoms, and thoroughly recommend this less well-known sector as a great way into a career.

'I'm passionate about seeing more women in telecoms surveying, and more women with my background'

SMEs face political and regulatory challenges

Sky-House Waverley innovative development near Sheffield

© Vox Multimedia Ltd

As part of our SME spotlight month in October, the journal ran a series of articles by people running companies employing fewer than 40 staff.

AspinallVerdi executive director Atam Verdi for instance outlined current difficulties in the UK property market for such companies working across the private and public sectors. An imminent general election complicates the situation.

Verdi set out how he and his planning and surveying clients are also dealing with policy issues relating to climate change, including biodiversity net gain (BNG), nutrient neutrality and carbon reduction. He also gave his view on why RICS is vital to the future of the sector, and what the profession can offer for young entrants.

'The skills that we are looking for are problem-solving, curiosity, analysis and communication'

UK minerals market in need of strategic vision

Stockpiles of aggregate

© Mineral Product Association

Political uncertainty and the effects of climate change are also challenges for the minerals and waste sector.

In a July article, Mineral Products Association director of economic affairs Aurelie Delannoy explained how the sector is facing high costs and low construction demand this year. But predicted growth next year will be followed by higher demand over the next decade and a half.

Notwithstanding the government's recent Critical Minerals Strategy, she concluded that a comprehensive, long-term approach is required to allow both the local mineral planning system and the mineral products industry to ensure the right materials are available in the right place at the right time.

'Contrasting with short-term weaknesses, it is clear that significant volumes of primary aggregates and ready-mixed concrete will be needed over the next 15 years'

This represents just a few of the topics covered in the journal this year, and in the second part we will look at the rural and geospatial sectors as well as rights of light.

Sian Morgan is editor of Land Journal

Contact Sian: Email 

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