How much is the land worth in your city?

A very broad question that can trigger multiple answers, many of them even emotional; many variables if it is land with or without building, public services or typical area lot. That there was a page where we could know the value of the land in a specific area of ​​our city, would undoubtedly be a great help for aspects related to the cadastre, real estate market or land use.

So far I am impressed by the initiative «Map of Land Values ​​in Latin America«, That seeks this purpose, under a collaborative approach and applying webmapping technology. It is likely to end up being a reference in the Latin American context, at least in major cities, especially because of the comparative approach between regions and countries.

Collaborative innovation

In its 2018 edition, it presents an update of what it started two years ago: a systematization of the values ​​of the urban soils of the different Latin American cities that the market is responsible for fixing. The particularity, and the fact that it can produce some pride or admiration, is that it is a collaborative initiative and totally free. Participate all kinds of volunteers who provide a piece that helps to complete these puzzles that sometimes seem to be the geo-economic zones of our countries. The opening is aimed at people linked to academia, professionals, real estate agents and public officials, as well as public and private institutions linked to the management of land policies. It is totally free and independent of any economic or political interest that could put pressure on the organizers or condition them when placing certain prices.

This project counts with two previous editions, one in the 2016 and another in the 2017. Thanks to these works, an approximate total of 7,800 georeferenced data from 16 countries different from the region was collected.

The importance of knowing the value of urban land

Faced with this innovation, questions arise as to why it is necessary or in which it would be useful to know how much land in a particular area. The existence of a bank of information on this subject can help to unify criteria when planning public policies and extend a certain territorial management plan for the most important cities in the region. A measure of urban planning, such as a group of social housing, will gain greater legitimacy if it were carried out in several countries under certain rules; Not to mention projects that include expropriation, justification and compensation.


One of the salient features of this project is the possibility that a large number of people contribute data for free through the internet.

We have heard a lot about crowdfunding as a way to raise or invest in a project so that it can be carried out. They are people, companies or institutions that deposit the money so that another can continue with their objectives, taking advantage of the potential of the web. With the crowdsourcing a practically equal mechanism happens, the only difference that contributed is not money but data or knowledge and that transforms the one that propitiated the information in a collaborative part of the project. The translation can be understood as "mass collaboration". It is, in a synthetic way, a massive, constant, free, open and easily accessible participation, and its focus on geolocation has ended up coining the term crowdmapping.

Four uses that can be given to this tool

  • The first function is given within an academicist perspective. It can be used as a highly accurate and accurate information variable when creating comparative statistics. For example, the possibility of accessing a home can be an aspect to be taken into account when analyzing the level of life of a certain person; If we have regional unified data above, we can compare the standard of living among the inhabitants of Buenos Aires in contrast to the rest of the cities of Argentina, to name a case.
  • Another area within which this map of values ​​can be used is for the tax cadastre. Each year local governments usually require market data to update the values ​​of the geoeconomic zones, with which the appraisal must be updated and the taxes collected. Usually this requires consulting values ​​of real estate companies, reliable sales in the Land Registry, sales announcements in the media, etc. Well this is a very appropriate source for this; It would not be strange that municipal employees who suffer with this issue are updating their data here so as not to be left out of what others are doing to facilitate their investigation. I must clarify that these values ​​are market and only refer to the land, do not include the value of the building.
  • A third form is associated with the previous one, but under a market movement approach; especially because just by looking at the map it is possible to determine in what area of ​​the city the property is moving; for better or for worse this data can be useful even to encourage investment or identify undeclared information. The information base can be downloaded, and the data includes details that can be exploited for more purposes, such as the range of batch area, services available, data source and user who provided it.
  • Finally, and perhaps in a slightly more idealistic level, this type of tool serves to continue with the elimination of barriers. While globalization, encouraged by the Internet and new forms of communication, paved the way considerably, projects such as the Map of values ​​of the soil of Latin America collaborate with the strengthening of ties between people of different nations united by a common discipline .

The realization of this project has its merit in the initiatives of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy which seeks to expand its participation and presence in Latin America and the Caribbean through the promotion of educational and scientific initiatives and different types of dissemination projects.

See values ​​map page

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