Digital technology can open new frontiers in the formation, registration, and enforcement of property rights in land. This chapter explores the prospects – but also the limits – of digital technology in streamlining efficient land use and land markets. In particular, it asks whether the digital production and dissemination of information can enhance a more optimal use of land, such as by the three-dimensional (3D) delineation of real estate into distinct segments and specific rights thereto, including for subsurface infrastructure, or by the digital pooling of non-adjacent assets for purposes such as creating collective security interests in them. This chapter shows that while aligning the digital production of information with a corresponding system of ‘legal volumes’ and 3D zoning regulation can innovate land markets, the growing multiplicity of property rights in multi-layered tracts faces a genuine collective action problem, having both commons and anticommons features. Digital technology should thus be matched with a legal reform on the institutional governance of multiple uses and interests in and across tracts, somewhat like in the case of condominiums and other current forms of strata title.
Lehavi, Amnon, The Future of Property Rights: Digital Technology in the Real World (January 8, 2020).