Landscapes and the machine : addressing wicked valuation problems when north, south, east and west meet
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This thesis is about engaging with the dynamic relationship between “landscapes”, “land tenure”, and the “machine”. The first term can be so broad as to mean every process and thing encountered, the second means the way that land is held by a person or group of persons, and the third means things both put together and used by humans to fulfil their wants and needs from the landscape. As a professional valuer I have been traditionally trained to engage at arms-length with the normative behaviour of persons or groups at the intersection of these three concepts, wherein those people and groups were willing but not compelled to engage. Such traditional valuation approaches are increasingly recognised as being insufficient to address wicked valuation problems of the diverse peoples and groups that inhabit the globe from North, South, East to West. This thesis develops a means of engaging with these wicked valuation problems in a suitably knowledgeable and prudent way. To do so the thesis adopts an exploratory approach guided by Whitehead’s process philosophy injunction of a creative advance into novelty. This approach is enacted through a range of data collection and analysis methods. Autoethnography is used to draw on knowledge and experience from over the past 40 years in land valuation in Africa and the Asia-Pacific, whilst documentary analysis is used to draw in the views of other valuation practitioners and scholars who are becoming increasingly aware of the need to develop ways to adapt land valuation processes to the complexity of our contemporary landscapes. These two threads are woven together as I discuss my professional career in valuing real property rights, and the effects such rights have had on the peoples in countries that I have travelled through since first qualifying as a valuer. Drawing on lessons that emerge from this reflective journey, and through a series of workshops in different countries, I develop and pilot a tool I call “HVN↔HBA”, which is specifically designed to address wicked valuation problems through engagement with small groups, particularly, but not exclusively, value juries.
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