Europe land allocation

Should European governments allocate some open rural or natural lands (and other resources) to deprived populations (poor, homeless, jobless and migrants)?

Summary of the case

From the literature available we found that some countries have allocated rural lands to migrants (Germany and Italy). We found out that social welfare could be improved and the productivity of land increased. However, this relocation process raised many issues in terms of natural resources allocation, as well as social integration. In the following we will focus on an abstract case study and try to find out what are the main barriers and leverages of the implementation of such policy.

Issues & dilemmas

The question raises the following controversial issues:

  • Are the targeted people willing to move from urban territories to rural places?

  • Can rural areas play a role in poverty alleviation?

  • How to tackle poverty in all its dimensions? (Housing, working activities, income, community integration, access to public services and natural environment)

  • What are the threats in terms of marginalization, discrimination and racism, especially in rural areas and for already marginalized communities?

  • What are the barriers in terms of land ownership and management, that is to say what are the lands that are owned by public authorities and how can private lands be used in the case study as well?


The key resources we have identified are:

  • Land :often private or degraded

  • Human resource: partners at all scales, from farmers to institutions

  • Money: key resource to begin the activities on the land and tackle poverty

  • Public services: education, health, water, energy, waste and all basic needs

  • Food: produced by the land

  • Social wealth: can be produced or reduced, depending on the integration process and the overall project success

  • Skills and knowledge: exchanged between all actors in an ideal situation


  • Deprived people: main characters in this case study

  • Neighboring villagers: welcoming community, farmers, inhabitants

  • Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs): human right organizations at country level and local associations helping the integration

  • Government: local and national governments

  • Land owners: both inhabitants and external owners (forest owners…)

  • Banks: key actor to start the investment

The relationship between resources and actors needs to be understood and well defined.

Mapping issues / resources / actors

Design by playing

After this negotiation simulation, we modeled a “game” called “Make Europe Great A-game (MEGA v.1)” synthetizing the main issues and controversies of the situation of our case study. The game was designed to highlight the major dynamics of the negotiations in a context of limited resources and dominating self-interests, inspired by “Wat-A-Game”. We started by choosing the main resources to be allocated: land, money, public services and human labor. We made the assumption that the quality of the public services was a proxy for the global social welfare: The main character was the mayor of the village, whose goal is to maximize this social welfare through investing in public services. The other players were the villagers, aiming at maximizing their profits through the productivity of land, enhanced by the improvements in public services and in knowledge. The last role was the deprived family, who was in minority, and whose goal was to achieve a stable income without depending on public subsidies.

Two teams played the game, and the main feedback was that it was successful in terms of dynamics.

This modeling exercise helped us to underline the most important aspects of the situation, and the potential conflicts that could emerge, with the limitation that we had a very limited time to build it. So we could not achieve, for example, to give precise values to the things that were sold and paid for in the game.


After the modeling of our case study and a first simulation, we addressed the issue of building the action plan. The main strategies we decided to adopt are summarized below.


-        preliminary research on land availability: localization, price, ownership, connection to urban areas – delegation to countries

-        research on social and psychological impact of the project on the actors

-        feasibility analysis

-        create money budget

-        create guidelines for local strategy plans implementation (tools, housing)


-        selection of the interested people

-        define how to match people with lands

-        build a social net to enhance integration

-        communication and mobilization of civil society


-        follow up with identified partners

Terms of negotiation

Following this first exploration of our case study, we simulated negotiations between actors on how to allocate resources. We thus defined the two most important resources: rural land and public fund. The actors we played were: the local government (deciding how to allocate the public money), the deprived people, the villagers, and a human-right NGO.

The attribution of resources resulting from this simulation were:

Allocation target

Rural land

Public fund

Rural villages



Public services



Land management – Food production



Social accommodation and aids



Regarding the negotiation process itself, we started working on the points, which has the major disagreements between the actors, and then went on to the easier ones. The NGO was the most “non-listened” actor with the most distant results from the final decision. It appeared it was because the local government had eventually the final decision on every allocation. To address this issue, we proposed changing the procedure to ensure equal times of speaking to all participants. 

External anonymous feedbacks

The game was very interesting and well representing the overall stakes involving the 3 selected actors of our society. Maybe, some adjustments of the incomes or the land productivity values could have been done if the game had lasted more because as a villager I had quickly access to lots of resources and plots, the game was not very contraining at this time. But with only 1 or 2 rounds I could understand the different mechanisms as well as the possibilities offered to each actor and the principles behind the game.

 The game was found interesting and very easy to play, with good resource allocation. but the thing i found negative was there is less pressure between the actors. because at the end of the game there is no any looser, every player won. this could be as a result of too much allocation of money at the beginning of the game which resulted to less competitions between the actors. 
 The game was very interesting and the model was well representing the overall stakes involving the 3 selected actors of our society. It was providing chance for every player and was very well focused on growth. The model was best suited for a ideal social growth and was inovative.
 This game was complex but offered insight into many nuances of the circumstances in Europe. Rather than an individual competition where each player tried to profit the  most , the game aimed to sustain the villagers and improve the lives of the poor. Because the poor player started out so disadvantaged, they didn't have control over their fate in the game. I like how that showed the duty of people in power to make decisions that help  those without power.