STDM - Social Domain Tenure Model

The Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) is a pro-poor, participatory and affordable land tool for representing a person-to-land relationship along the land rights continuum. STDM implementation is embedded in other GLTN land tools as a vehicle for UN-Habitat’s Global Campaign for Secure Tenure. This campaign advocates for change and assisting Member States to introduce innovations, which strengthen tenure security for the majority of people, especially the poor. It operationalizes the continuum of land rights concept, enlists inclusive approaches advocated in participatory enumeration, and highlights the gender status of land relations. GLTN partners have adapted the STDM to several different contexts and the tool has been implemented in eight countries. In addition, capacity development of land actors to apply the tool has taken place in over 40 countries.


There is a gap in the conventional land administration systems such that customary and informal tenure cannot be easily handled. There is a need for complimentary approaches in land administration.

The concept of the Social Tenure Domain Model is to bridge this gap by providing a standard for representing ‘people – land’ relationships independent of the level of formality, legality and technical accuracy.



The STDM is a ‘specialization’ of the ISO-approved Land Administration Domain Model (LADM). In this context, specialization means that there are some differences, which are mostly in the terminology and in the application area. LADM development took place in parallel of STDM development as a concept and a model, and that the core developers of both models are the same or supportive of each other.

Any form of right, responsibility or restriction in a formal system is considered as a social tenure relationship in STDM.


The need for efficient land rights’ recordation tools and use of ICT has become a necessity and increasingly becoming more available in recent times. The STDM information tool provides the front-end interface for testing and applying the STDM concept and model.

Building from the STDM prototype version and in adherence to GLTN core values (e.g. pro-poor, equity, affordability, good governance, subsidiarity, gender sensitiveness, systematic large scale approach and sustainability), UN-Habitat/GLTN together with its implementing partners, have supported the continuous development of the information tool in a variety of application areas ranging from informal settlement upgrading to natural resource management.


Download the  software here