Urban researcher wins Graduate Women Victoria scholarship

RMIT PhD student Ani Landau-Ward has been awarded the prestigious William and Elizabeth Fisher Scholarship for her research on property registration for marginalised communities.

Joining the RMIT Centre for Urban Research this year, Ani Landau-Ward is undertaking a socio-legal analysis of property rights administration for land and housing as her PhD project with case studies in Ghana, India and Malaysia.

The project focuses on land titles, due to their ongoing importance as instruments in the governance of land and housing for poor and marginalised groups, and investigates where digital disruptions, international institutions, and non-government organisations, are influencing the administration and governance context of property titles.

Landau-Ward’s project has taken home the coveted William and Elizabeth Fisher Scholarship, valued at $8000, awarded by Graduate Women Victoria prize to female students undertaking a PhD or doctoral degree course within the state.

Landau-Ward said she was delighted to be the recipient of this year’s award which will contribute to funding the fieldwork in this project.

“I am immensely honoured that I have been successful in my application for the William and Elizabeth Fisher Scholarship,” she said.

“I am extremely grateful for the support of Graduate Women Victoria to conduct this research, and in turn, I hope that this support will be beneficial more broadly, as relations to land, and access to housing, are crucial for survival, health, wellbeing and resilience.”

Landau-Ward’s project continues her long standing passion to contribute, through research, to better understanding new possibilities and emerging challenges to security of tenure, and land and housing rights, in contexts marked by poverty and marginalisation.

“One important aspect of land and housing tenure, and questions of land and housing justice is the governance of property rights,” she said.

“Digital disruptions in property administration, and the rapid move to transnationally owned, and privatised land registers, alongside an increased focus on property rights by international institutions such as in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and in the World Bank investor state rankings, are changing the form and governance of property rights throughout the world.

“Older models for understanding the economic, political and social relations between land and housing tenure and property administration are no longer sufficient.”

“In particular there is a need to understand property administration as caught in both local and national legal jurisdictions as well as influenced by increasingly global forces.”

“There is an important body of research emerging that engages with these new realities for property governance and this project aims to contribute to this new body of knowledge.”

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