Land development refers to altering the landscape in any number of ways such as:
- Changing landforms from a natural or semi-natural state for a purpose such as agriculture or housing
- Subdividing real estate into lots, typically for the purpose of building homes
- Real estate development or changing its purpose, for example by converting an unused factory complex into condominia
Landowner or developers on any size of project will often want to maximise profits, minimise risk and control cash flow. This is a process called "profit enhancement", which means identifying and developing the best scheme for the local marketplace, whilst satisfying the local planning process. Development Analysis puts development prospects and the development process itself under the microscope, identifying where enhancements and improvements can be introduced. These improvements aim to align with best design practice, political sensitivities, and the inevitable social requirements of a project, with the overarching objective of increasing land values and profit margins on behalf of the landowner or developer.
Development analysis can add significantly to the value of land and development, and as such is becoming a crucial tool for landowners and developers. It is an essential step in Kevin A. Lynch's 1960 book The Image of the City, and is considered to be essential to realizing the value potential of land. The landowner can share in additional planning gain (significant value uplift) via an awareness of the land's development potential. This is done via a residual development appraisal or residual valuation. The residual appraisal calculates the sale value of the end product (the gross development value, or GDV), and hypothetically deducts costs, including planning and construction costs, finance costs and developer's profit. The "residue", or leftover proportion, represents the land value. Therefore, in maximising the GDV (that which one could build on the land), land value is concurrently enhanced.
Land value is highly sensitive to supply and demand (for the end product), build costs, planning and affordable housing contributions, and so on. Understanding the intricacies of the development system and the effect of "value drivers" can result in massive differences in the landowner's sale value.
Conversion of landforms
Conversion to building land
Land development and the change in land value does not usually take into account changes in the ecology of the developed area. While conversion of (rural) land with a vegetation carpet to building land may result in a rise in economic growth and rising land prices, the irreversibility of lost flora and fauna because of habitat destruction, the loss of ecosystem services and resulting decline in environmental value is only considered a priori in environmental full-cost accounting.
Conversion to farmland
New creation of farmland will rely on the conversion and development of previous forests, savannas or grassland. Recreation of farmland from wasteland, deserts or previous impervious surfaces is considerably less frequent because of the degraded or missing fertile soil in the latter. Starting from forests, land is made arable by assarting or slash-and-burn. Because the newly created farmland is more prone to erosion than soil stabilized by tree roots, such a conversion may mean irreversible crossing of an ecological threshold. The resulting deforestation is also not easily compensated for elsewhere, because plantations of other trees as a rule lack the biodiversity of the lost forest.
- Land development bank
- Land management
- Land recycling
- Leopold matrix
- Subdivision (land)
- Sustainable agriculture
- Real estate developer
- Urban planning
- Urban renewal
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