Instruments of Land Policy – dealing with scarcity of land


Scarcity of land is not only environmentally determined, but to a large extend a result of a political process. Spatial planning creates or alleviates scarcity of land by intervening in the allocation and distribution of land. It thereby intervenes with private property rights – i.e. granting, changing, or taking them. Whether scarcity is good or bad depends on the perspective and the policy goals. Once these goals are set, one of the greatest challenges spatial planning is its implementation.

For the implementation of spatial planning objectives there are different instruments of land policy at the disposal of planners to deal with property rights of landowners. The instruments reach from tax incentives, land readjustment, pre-emptive right to even expropriation. The selection of such instruments of land policy is often presented in a functionalist approach as if it depended merely on technical choices. However, instruments are embedded in a political process. They correspond to specific interpretations of the role of the state and/or its private partners. The instruments distinguish in their inherent efficiency, effectiveness, legitimation and practicability towards the planning objectives.

This roundtable is going to be a platform to analyse and discuss how the public actors strategically use certain instruments of land policy in different contexts (i.e. in different countries). The central question to discuss is therefore: How can public intervention strategically manage the scarcity of buildable land, either increasing or decreasing it, in order to promote, overall, a more sparing use of resources? Which consequences it could have on the planning goals and what it would mean for the cooperation with the landowners. Therefore, we are not going to argue about the aims of a land policy per se, but we are going to focus explicitly on the application of the instruments and their strategic use. We would like – by presenting similar instruments from different countries – to show the political dimension of these instruments. We welcome you to join our discussion that will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of these instruments. This roundtable shall inspire an academic and political debate about land as a scarce resource and how to face it.

We pursue three objectives with this roundtable. First, we would like to understand how different policy instruments can impact scarcity of land. This means understanding the rationale and basic functioning of instruments. Second, we aim to reflect on the strategic and political dimension of using instruments of land policy in various ways. Third, this roundtable bring together examples from different national contexts in order to raise the awareness on how specific instruments are used by planners in other countries. This is to explore whether certain policy instruments can be rediscovered after periods of oblivion, transposed from a rural to an urban setting, combined with other in a complex intervention strategy, etc. to facilitate mutual learning on how to deal with scarcity of land in different contexts.

Coordinators:

Thomas Hartmann - Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
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Andreas Hengstermann - Institute of Geography, Bern University, Switzerland
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Jean-David Gerber - Institute of Geography, Bern University, Switzerland
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PROPERTY RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Land Use under Changing Environmental Conditions


Property Rights and Climate Change explores the multifarious relationships between different types of climate-driven environmental changes and property rights. This original contribution to the literature examines such climate changes through the lens of property rights, rather than through the lens of land use planning. The inherent assumption pursued is that the different types of environmental changes, with their particular effects and impact on land use, share common issues regarding the relationship between the social construction of land via property rights and the dynamics of a changing environment.

Making these common issues explicit and discussing the different approaches to them is the central objective of this book. Through examining a variety of cases from the Arctic to the Australian coast, the contributors take a transdisciplinary look at the winners and losers of climate change, discuss approaches to dealing with changing environmental conditions, and stimulate pathways for further research. This book is essential reading for lawyers, planners, property rights experts and environmentalists.

In this Roundtable session we will discuss some of the most prominent conclusions of the book with authors and experts.

Coordinators:

Fennie van der Straalen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Thomas Hartmann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

John Sheehan is Visiting Professor, Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University, Australia.