Of boundary objects and boundaries: Local stabilization of the polish cadastral infrastructure

Francis Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The cadastre is an infrastructure of institutions, humans, and nonhumans. Its role in governance is the provision of a systematic organization of land ownership, rights, and responsibilities. The cadastral infrastructure's information needs to correspond to actual uses of land if it is to be of continued use in governance. In effect, as an important governmental information space, it needs to also correspond to geographic and social spaces. For many reasons the boundary objects making up the cadastral infrastructure can be unstable-delays in processing changes and conflicting competencies are commonplace. Larger instabilities including civil unrest, war, and persistent corruption produce profound asymmetries and distortions. Following centuries of disruption, ongoing attempts to augment cadastral infrastructures in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe offer opportunities to probe and analyze the stabilization of cadastral infrastructures. Poland, which never saw complete collectivization and retained a cadastral infrastructure, offers an exemplary cadastral infrastructure for study, with its uniqueness bringing out many tensions still nascent in neighboring countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research for this publication has been supported by National Science Foundation Geography and Spatial Sciences Award 0522257 and by a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant within the 6th European Community Framework Programme. The views and conclusions presented here reflect the work of the author and not of any of the funding agencies.


  • Boundary objects
  • Cadastre
  • GIS
  • Governance
  • Infrastructures
  • Spatial data infrastructure


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