344 pages, 7 3/10 x 10 2/5
33 photographs, 32 figures, 9 tables, and 7 boxes
Release Date:08 Jul 2014

Land Use and Society, Third Edition

Geography, Law, and Public Policy

Island Press

The intersection between geography and law is a critical yet often overlooked element of land-use decisions, with a widespread impact on how societies use the land, water, and biodiversity around them. Land Use and Society, Third Edition is a clear and compelling guide to the role of law in shaping patterns of land use and environmental management. Originally published in 1996 and revised in 2004, this third edition has been updated with data from the 2010 U.S. Census and revised with the input of academics and professors to address the changing issues in land use, policy, and law today.

Land Use and Society, Third Edition retains the historical approach of the original text while providing a more concise and topical survey of the evolution of urban land use regulation, from Europe in the Middle Ages through the present day United States. Rutherford Platt examines the “nuts and bolts” of land use decision-making in the present day and analyzes key players, including private landowners, local and national governments, and the courts. This third edition is enhanced by a discussion of the current trends and issues in land use, from urban renewal and demographic shifts in cities to the growing influence of local governance in land use management.

Land Use and Society, Third Edition is a vital resource for any student seeking to understand the intersection between law, politics, and the natural world. While Platt examines specific rules, doctrines, and practices from an American context, an understanding of the role of law in shaping land use decisions will prove vital for students, policymakers, and land use managers around the world.

Rutherford H. Platt is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Lifetime National Associate of The National Academies. He is the author of Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events and Reclaiming American Cities: The Struggle for People, Place, and Nature Since 1900, among many other publications. Platt has served on various panels of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council and has consulted with diverse federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

Introduction. Geography, Law, and Landscape: Reflections From 30,000 Feet


PART I. Preliminaries: Land, Geography and Law

Chapter 1. Land Use and Society: Fundamentals and Issues

Chapter 2. Shaping the Human Landscape: The Interaction of Geography and Law


PART II. From Feudalism to Federalism: The Social Organization of Land Use

Chapter 3. Historical Roots of American Land Use Institutions

Chapter 4. Building a Metropolitan Nation: 1900-1940

Chapter 5. The Polarized Metropolis: 1945-2010


Part III. Discordant Voices: Property Rights vs. The Public Interest

Chapter 6. Property Rights: The Owner as Planner

Chapter 7. The Tapestry of Local Governments

Chapter 8. Zoning, Regionalism, and Smart Growth

Chapter 9. Land Use and the Courts

Chapter 10. Congress and the Metropolitan Environment


Epilogue. Towards More Humane Urbanism


List of Acronyms

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