Land registry applications of Blockchain: Monitoring & trust in planning collaborations

Authors: Lucy Natarajan*, UCL
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Human Rights, Social Theory
Keywords: Spatial Planning, Participation, Blockchain
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Blockchain, the technology best known for its use in digital or ‘crypto’ currencies such as Bitcoin, provides a ‘distributed’ record of transactions of value, through ‘distributed ledger technology’ (DLT). Expectations around the possible applications of DLT, due to perceived disruption of traditional regulatory structures (Ishmaev, 2017), appear over-inflated (Miraz & Ali, 2018). In particular, socialist interpretations have arisen in light of the new means of stakeholder engagement that are introduced by DLT, whereby the monitoring of value exchange can be undertaken by an entire network of stakeholders. At least for crypto-currencies, this is said to produce functioning governance networks without trust between collaborators (Huckle & White, 2016). Such propositions run counter to orthodoxies of collaborative planning and inclusive governance theories, still some urban DLT applications are emerging and there are hopes for further uses in environmental governance (Duvat & Magnan, 2017; Baynham-Herd, 2017). To date there is little empirical study, and most research has focused on technological (Aste, Tasca & Centre, 2017; Maull, Godsiff, Mulligan, et al., 2017) and legal aspects (Jewell, 2018) of DLT. This paper critically examines trust and monitoring within the new configuration of networks for planning offered by DLT using the example of land registry records. It draws on interviews with actors in cities in India and Nigeria who are currently working with DLT, and offers a reinterpretation of applications of DLT for urban and regional governance collaborations.

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