“A basic territorial unit, limited and defined by two forms of appropriation: ownership and land use. A parcel of property is a cadastral parcel (the smallest unity of the land register) and a land use parcel is the physical unit of farm work (R. Brunet et al. 1993).”
“It immediately entails a single kind type of cultivation or a similar usage of land (field, forest, vineyard, moor).”
“It must be noted that one field can be cultivated in different parcels and, in turn, that contiguous fields can constitute a single usage parcel” (R. Billaz and Y. Diawara, 1980).”
Source : FAO website
To this first definition we can add that of land parceling, which occurs across the globe due to political, economic, social, and religious pressures. This movement is frequently tied to the (often very violent) fragmentation of states along social and ethnic lines.
The phenomenon of land parceling occurs in the countryside as much as in cities. It encourages us to interrogate the new relationships, flows, and movements of various kinds that exist between these new parceled spaces.
In France, the DATAR (the Ministry of Territorial Equality and Housing) has inquired into the new relationships between so-called “intermediary” cities, which mediate between and integrate these parceled spaces: “Beyond the social characteristics of these cities and their surrounding areas, the question is posed of their place in territorial systems endowed with a certain degree of unity and cohesion. Confronted with centrifugal forces and a tendency towards the parceling of space as well as social groups, intermediary cities can be valued for their mediating and integrating role. This conception of territorial unity is, finally, put to the test in policies of land use management.”
Source: DATAR’s website.
File translated by Michael C. Behrent – Assistant Professor – Department of History – Appalachian State University – Boone, NC 28608