By distinguishing levels in Open Design interesting ownership relationships arise. Now it is mostly about economic ownership, sometimes known as commercial ownership. What is most important is legal ownership. The way in which legal ownership is currently anchored in national legislation makes it very expensive, complicated and inflexible to arrange a division in ownership according to the split, fit-out (resident) and base building (other). As described, the allocation at every level is the transition to the next level of design and management. The ownership may follow that difference and can repeatedly be used as collateral for extra external financing. We parcel out in domains – areas – that as an existing situation, are each the starting point for the next initiator. However, it is not only possible to buy or sell these areas but also to lease or rent. The client who plans to create something in the newly allocated domain ‘rents’ the ‘situation’. What we create ourselves, the added value, we own.
For instance, on the three levels described, urban fabric, base building and fit-out, this means that a municipality can continue to be the owner of a parcelled out plot of building land, and can lease it to a developer/manager. The developer/manager then becomes the owner of his base building on the leased land and thus the owner of the living space, office space etc. allocated by him, which he then leases to a user. This user is the owner of the fit-out kit that he has installed. Finally, a family may decide to lease out a room, where the ultimate lessee and occupier is the owner of the furniture he puts in it.
The first benefit of this approach is that the land that is physically shared, also stays in common ownership. Thus the social trend towards right of use over ownership can be filled. Businesses or housing corporations rent parts of the common property to place their own property on or in it: a residential or office building. Shared property is redundant because the boundaries are transparently drawn.
A second benefit is that speculations on ‘situations’ are prevented. The land is no longer an article to be traded, only that which is put on it. What you bring in naturally appreciates in value when the location becomes more attractive, but the pure appreciation in value of the land is for the community. In this way, a powerful municipal policy in the area of urban development and environment reaps particular benefit. But this tool has not really been recognized by politics in the last ten years.