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Land Use

LAND USE

Land use regulations that protect public health have a long history. In 1189, England required stone walls (walls that divide two adjoining properties) to be three feet thick and sixteen feet tall. By 1297, front yards were required to be cleared and maintained, and in the fifteenth century all roofs in urban areas were required to be stone, lead, or tile, for fire protection. Public safety was the basis for a 1692 Boston ordinance restricting slaughterhouses, currier houses, and tallow chandler houses to less populous areas of the city.

HISTORY OF LAND USE PLANNING

America's first cities reflected the land planning traditions of the early settlers. The Spanish "Law of the Indies" required central plazas and parks in St. Augustine, Florida, established in 1565. English town planning influenced Sir Francis Nicholson's 1694 radial spoke design for Annapolis, Maryland, and James Ogelthorpe's 1733 neighborhood square plan for Savannah, Georgia. There were twenty-four park squares, with forty families per square in Savannah's grid. Twenty-three of these squares remain, and the original city layout is considered one of America's most lovely and livable.

By the mid-1800s, New York City's crowded, unhealthy environment lacked adequate light and air. In 1858, landscape architects Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vance laid out Central Park in response to the need for open space. The Public Health movement of the 1860s prompted New York and San Francisco to regulate tenements and slaughterhouses, and to separate incompatible land uses to benefit public health. In 1869 Olmstead and Vaux created a design for Riverside, Illinois, an English garden-style city using curved, tree-lined streets, deep setbacks, and single family detached houses in exclusively residential neighborhoods. This design became the standard suburban streetscape.

At the turn of the twentieth century the City Beautiful movement used parks and public open spaces as centerpieces of the future city as exemplified by the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, commonly known as the "White City." After the First World War, the movement turned to legal and technical standards for planning. What began as common-sense measures for preserving public safety evolved to include aesthetic, economic, traffic, noise, social, and cultural considerations.

THE PURPOSE OF PLANNING AND ZONING

Daniel Hudson Burnham (18461912), the creator of the city plan of Chicago (1909), wrote: "Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty." Burnham was at the forefront of the City Planning movement, the intent of which was to plan for the future. This was done by the creation of zones with separate land use regulations. In some communities, a plan was the basis for zoning. In most communities, zoning itself was the plan.

A comprehensive plan is the basis for current American land use planning. Such a plan must consider the community's vision for future development; the policies, goals, principles, and standards upon which the development of the community are based; the proposed location, extent, and intensity of future land usage; existing and anticipated future housing needs; the location and types of transportation required; the location of public and private utilities; and the location of educational, recreational, and cultural facilities including libraries, hospitals, and fire and police stations. It is also important to determine how a community's natural resources will be utilized.

After a comprehensive plan is in place, zoning is adopted that conforms to the plan. Zoning is the legal tool used to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of a community. Land is typically divided into zones for different land uses, such as commercial, industrial, and residential. Typically regulated are the location, height, bulk, and number of stories of buildings and other structures. Also regulated are the percentages of lot areas that may be occupied; the set back building lines; the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces; the density of population; and the uses of buildings.

THE EFFECTS OF LAND USE PLANNING ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

Delaware County was the fastest-growing county in Ohio in the late 1990s. With this growth came increased concerns related to environmental stress. The frequency of road rage, for example, increased due to heavy traffic on what were formerly quiet country roads. A detailed environmental health survey was performed in 1998, which confirmed the concerns of public health professionals that more parks, green space, and wildlife habitat were needed; and that county development, zoning, and land annexation were out of control. The Delaware County Board of Health began working to create environmental health programs that would coordinate with land use planning to reduce the environmental stress. The Delaware County Regional Planning Commission worked with communities to identify an environmentally sound vision for the county, and has assisted them in meeting their goals.

Sustainable, livable cities, like Savannah, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon, have many land use elements in common. Among these are:

  1. Central public open spaces (parks, squares, or water) in every neighborhood
  2. A variety of architectural styles, with compatible elements
  3. Retention of history through restoration of structures
  4. Downtown or village centers with intimate, human scale and mixed uses
  5. Commercial districts with greenbelts, controlled traffic access points, and sign controls
  6. Residential areas with traffic-calming features, low speed limits, and separation of residential uses
  7. Industrial parks with wide roads for heavy trucks and landscaped greenbelts
  8. Preserved natural features (natural topography, wetlands, floodplains, and water)
  9. Preserved agriculture areas

PLANNING RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS

The built environment can affect personal health in ways we are only beginning to measure. Entering the twenty-first century, there was a renewed interest in land use planning and environmental health. Authors like Randall Arendt and Peter Katz have espoused open-space community designs for rural and urban areas. A century after the City Beautiful movement, Americans are once again interested in the quality of life in their communities and in linking land use planning with environmental health.

Philip Laurien

(see also: Ecosystems; Environmental Determinants of Health; Healthy Communities; Not In My Backyard [NIMBY]; Urban Health; Urban Sprawl )

Bibliography

Arendt, R. (1994). Rural by Design. Chicago: Planners Press.

Ewing, R. (1996). Best Development Practices. Chicago: Planners Press.

Hines, T. S. (1974). Burnham of Chicago: Architect and Planner. New York: Oxford University Press.

Katz, P. (1994). The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community. New York: McGraw-Hill.

So, F. S., and Getzels, J., eds. (1988). The Practice of Local Government Planning, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: International City Management Association.

Whittick, A., ed. (1980). Encyclopedia of Urban Planning. Huntington, NY: Krueger.

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land use

land use, exploitation of land for agricultural, industrial, residential, recreational, or other purposes. Because the United States historically has a laissez-faire attitude toward land use, the land has been exploited at will for economic gain. Only in recent decades have Americans realized that land is not a limitless commodity. Increasing population and industrial expansion have generated urban sprawl, with thousands of square miles of open space being taken over annually for housing and business. As a result congestion and widespread pollution, along with depletion of water and mineral resources and destruction of wilderness and wildlife habitats, have become increasingly severe (see also environmentalism).

Land-Use Policy

Since environmental problems arise largely from the way land is used, traditional land-use policy has come under challenge. Zoning regulations are one example of legal limitations on land use. Another is the common-law concept of nuisance, which places limits and responsibilities on the rights of ownership. On such grounds, pressure for land-use reform has sharply intensified since the 1960s. It is argued that as accessible land grows scarcer, its function becomes more critical, therefore choice of that function should no longer be dictated by private profit or local convenience. Moreover, local laws and zoning regulations are inadequate for settling land-use questions involving regions that cut across local boundaries, such as wetlands, shorelines, and floodplains, or large-scale facilities such as strip mines, sewer systems, power plants, and highways. As a consequence, environmentalists have gone to court to prevent or resite the construction of projects that would degrade the environment. Land-use court battles have been waged over the siting of jetports, petroleum refineries, offshore tanker depots and drilling rigs, nuclear power stations, high-voltage transmission lines, dams, and even shopping centers and housing developments. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), in its periodic inventory of natural resources, reported in 1999 that during the five-year period from 1992 to 1997 the nation's privately held forests, croplands, and wetlands were lost to development in and around cities and towns at twice the rate they were from 1982 to 1992.

The land-use policy of such public lands as the U.S. national parks and forests is a matter of continuing controversy. Under the control of the USDA, the policy is to protect the environment while permitting some commercial exploitation of renewable resources. Critics charge that the encouragement of tourism overutilizes already fragile ecological systems and that the USDA favors timber companies over preservation of old-growth forests. In the early 1990s the issue was starkly illustrated by the spotted owl, a threatened species whose habitat in old-growth forests under federal supervision was threatened by timber-cutting policies. One possible solution is to create a biosphere reserve, which provides a core area in which no disturbance to the ecosystem is permitted, a transition area in which experimental research is allowed, and a buffer zone that protects the biosphere from external development pressures.

Legislation

Legislative action has also been sought, with considerable success. The scope of legislation has expanded, as areas once considered of marginal value, such as the polar regions, temperate wetlands, and tropical rain forests, are included in environmental planning. Although varying in scope and stringency, land-use laws are now in force in most of the United States. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires that federal agencies file statements assessing the environmental impact of proposed projects (see environmental impact statement). Agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must now subject their land-use proposals to the Environmental Protection Agency and therefore to public scrutiny. This requirement, along with other legislation empowering citizens to sue industry and government for failure to comply with air pollution and water pollution standards, has profoundly affected land-use decisions. Although conservatives sometimes criticize legislation for the time-consuming and costly obligations it places on private business, environmental activists argue that the act promotes only a modest level of conservation.

Bibliography

See R. W. Howard, The Vanishing Land (1985); S. Plotkin, Keep Out: The Struggle for Land Use Control (1986).

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multiple land-use strategy

multiple land-use strategy The designed use of an area so that a range of compatible uses, or activities that can be rendered compatible by careful management, may be practised in a single locality (for example, forestry with rambling, camping, nature conservation, flood control, etc.).

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multiple land-use strategy

multiple land-use strategy The designed use of an area so that a range of compatible uses, or activities that can be rendered compatible by careful management, may be practised in a single locality (for example, forestry with rambling, camping, nature conservation, flood control, etc.).

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Land Use

Land use


Land is any part of the earth's surface that can be owned as property. Land comprises a particular segment of the earth's crust and can be defined in specific terms. The location of the land is extremely important in determining land use and land value.

Land is limited in supply, and, as our population increases, we have less land to support each person. Land nurtures the plants and animals that provide our food and shelter. It is the watershed or reservoir for our water supply. Land provides the minerals we utilize, the space on which we build our homes, and the site of many recreational activities. Land is also the depository for much of the waste created by modern society. The growth of human population only provides a partial explanation for the increased pressure on land resources. Economic development and a rise in the standard of living have brought about more demands for the products of the land. This demand now threatens to erode the land resource.

We are terrestrial in our activities and as our needs have diversified, so has land use. Conflicts among the competing land uses have created the need for land-use planning. Previous generations have used and misused the land as though the supply was inexhaustible. Today, goals and decisions about land use must take into account and link information from the physical and biological sciences with the current social values and political realities.

Land characteristics and ownership provide a basis for the many uses of land. Some land uses are classified as irreversible, for example, when the application of a particular land use changes the original character of the land to such a extent that reversal to its former use is impracticable. Reversible land uses do not change the soil cover or land-form, and the land manager has many options when overseeing reversible land uses.

A framework for land-use planning requires the recognition that plans, policies, and programs must consider physical and biological, economical, and institutional factors. The physical framework of land focuses on the inanimate resources of soil, rocks and geological features, water, air, sunlight, and climate . The biological framework involves living things such as plants and animals. A key feature of the physical and biological framework is the need to maintain healthy ecological relationships. The land can support many human activities, but there are limits. Once the resources are brought to these limits, they can be destroyed and replacing them will be difficult.

The economic framework for land use requires that operators of land be provided sufficient returns to cover the cost of production. Surpluses of returns above costs must be realized by those who make the production decisions and by those who bear the production costs. The economic framework provides the incentive to use the land in a way that is economically feasible. The institutional framework requires that programs and plans be acceptable within the working rules of society. Plans must also have the support of current governments. A basic concept of land use is the right of land who has the right to decide the use of a given tract of land. Legal decisions have provided the framework for land resource protection.

Attitudes play an important role in influencing land use decisions, and changes in attitudes will often bring changes in our institutional framework. Recent trends in land use in the United States show that substantial areas have shifted to urban and transportation uses, state and national parks, and wildlife refuges since 1950. The use of land has become one of our most serious environmental concerns. Today's land use decisions will determine the quality of our future life styles and environment . The land use planning process is one of the most complex and least understood domestic concerns facing the nation. Additional changes in the institutional framework governing land use are necessary to allow society to protect the most limited resource on the planetthe land we live on.

[Terence H. Cooper ]


RESOURCES

BOOKS

Beatty, M. T. Planning the Uses and Management of Land. Series in Agronomy, no. 21. Madison, WI: American Standards Association, 1979.

Davis, K. P. Land Use. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.

Fabos, J. G. Land-Use Planning: From Global to Local Challenge. New York: Chapman and Hall, 1985.

Lyle, John T., and Joan Woodward. Design for Human Ecosystems: Landscape, Land Use and Natural Resources. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999.

McHarg, I. L. Design With Nature. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1995.

Silber, Jane, and Chris Maser. Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Development. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2000.

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Land Use

Land Use

Uses of the land

Land-use conflicts, planning, and regulation

Resources

Land use is a geographical concept that refers to the ways in which parcels of land are utilized by people and society. Land use planning is an activity that examines the factors that influence the nature and dynamics of land usage and develops ways to optimize those variables to achieve larger social, economic, and ecological benefits.

Uses of the land

Land can be used in different ways. These can include residential, institutional, business, industrial, agricultural, forestry, park, and other relatively natural land uses. Each of these broader categories can be further subdivided based on the nature and intensity of the activities that are undertaken.

Residential land use, for example, can involve single-family dwellings on large or small lots, or aggregations of multiple-unit dwellings of various sorts. The most intensive residential land-uses are associated with clusters of apartment buildings, which can support high densities of human population.

Institutional land uses are mostly associated with land that is occupied by public buildings such as schools, universities, government office buildings, art galleries, and museums. These facilities are most commonly located in urban or suburban areas. Business land uses are similar in many respects, and are mostly associated with land that is appropriated to retail facilities of various types, and with office buildings.

Industrial land uses are extremely varied, depending on the nature of the industry being considered. Urban-industrial land usage generally refers to the siting of factories or petroleum refineries, and of utilities such as electricity generating stations, and water-and sewage-treatment facilities. Industrial land use in rural areas can include mines, smelters, and mills for the production of ores and metals; mines and well fields for the production of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas; and large water-holding reservoirs for the production of hydroelectricity.

Land uses for agriculture and forestry are also types of industrial land uses, in this case involved with the production of food or tree-fiber as renewable resources. The nature of agricultural land uses depends on the types of crops and agronomic systems, which can vary from intensively managed monocultures, to more organic systems involving annual or perennial crops and little use of fertilizers or pesticides. Similarly, the intensity of land use in forestry varies from systems involving clear-cutting and the establishment of short-rotation plantations, to selection-harvesting systems with long-spaced interventions.

Some land uses associated with parks and golf courses also represent intensive modifications of the natural landscape. The management practices required to maintain these lawn-dominated ecosystems are similar to those utilized in some types of monocultural agricultural systems. Other types of parks, however, are little changed from the natural state of the land, and they may only involve the development of access roads, unpaved trails, and interpretation facilities.

The last major category of land use involves designation of an area as an ecological or wilderness reserve. In most cases, this sort of land-use designation precludes the exploitation of natural resources by mining, forestry, or agriculture, and usually by hunting and fishing as well. However, scientific research and recreational activities that do not require extensive facilities, such as hiking and canoeing, may be permitted in many areas designated for natural land use.

Land-use conflicts, planning, and regulation

Land-use planning is an important activity of many geographers and planners. Land-use planning is usually pursued at the larger spatial scale, for example, by local or regional municipalities, counties, and states or provinces. The goal of land-use planning is to ensure that uses of the land are appropriate and sustainable, and do not cause unacceptable social or economic disruptions, or serious environmental degradations of the site or landscape. Land-use planning cannot achieve this goal by itself. There must also be a political will to implement appropriate land-use plans through regulation and zoning of the activities of people, businesses, and government itself. Achievement of a successful and sustainable pattern of land use requires planning, regulation, and monitoring, as well as effective resolution of unanticipated conflicts as they arise.

One of the most useful tools available to land-use planners is known as geographic information systems, or GIS. GIS is a computer-based system for the storage, retrieval, analysis, and portrayal of data on the uses, characteristics, and ecological dynamics of areas of land. Examples of spatial information that GIS is extremely useful in analyzing, portraying, and overlaying include data on topography, landforms, geologic hazards such as landslides or earthquake fault zones, surface waters, environmental chemistry, wild-life populations, ecological communities, floodplains, political boundaries, etc. Because of its powerful capabilities, GIS has proven to be a useful tool for planners, who can use this computerized system to describe both existing and future land-use characteristics, and to effectively model the potential implications of various land-use scenarios.

Urban and suburban land-use planning generally focuses on designing an appropriate mixture of residential, retail, business, institutional, industrial, and recreational land uses and activities. Attention must be paid to the delivery of utilities such as water, electricity, telephone lines, and sewerage services to all of these user groups, while also ensuring that there is an appropriate network of transportation facilities, and that unacceptable conflicts do not occur among user groups.

Many cities and larger urban-suburban regions have developed without paying appropriate attention to planning and regulating the various sorts of uses of the land, and problems have subsequently occurred. These predicaments include such problems as large numbers of people living beside heavily polluting industries, traffic jams due to little coordination of the development of residential facilities and employment opportunities, and large numbers of people having inadequate access to clean water and other elements of a healthy life-support system.

Land-use planning in rural areas must also focus on identifying and avoiding unacceptable environmental damages and conflicts among resource users. For example, in planning agricultural land use, it is critical to consider land capability and whether particular agricultural systems might cause excessive erosion, resulting in degradation of the agricultural resource, and unacceptable damage to nearby aquatic ecosystems.

Land used for agriculture, forestry, hydroelectric reservoirs, or mining is not available for other uses, and this can have great implications for regional economies and their sustainability. Therefore, wherever possible, it is desirable to have a balanced mixture of appropriate land-uses and activities on the landscape.

It is also critical that rural land-use planning accommodate the need to preserve some areas as natural, self-maintaining ecosystems, so that unacceptable

KEY TERMS

Geographic information systems (GIS) A computer-based system for the storage, analysis, and portrayal of spatial data related to geography, ecology, and environmental science.

Landscape An extensive area of terrain, encompassing many discrete ecological communities.

damages to biodiversity resources are not caused. This is also a consideration in urban land-use planning, although the opportunities to accommodate natural, ecological values are more limited in urban areas.

See also Ecological economics; Ecology; Human ecology.

Resources

BOOKS

Berke, P.R. and D.R. Godschalk. Urban Land Use Planning. 5th ed. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Evans, A.W. Economics and Land Use Planning. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Bill Freedman

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Land Use

Land Use

Introduction

Land use is the human use of territory for economic, residential, recreational, conservational, and governmental purposes. The concept of land use is closely intertwined with human community development. Patterns of human development and land use have shaped the environment locally and globally since prehistoric times. Current development patterns, together with features of the natural environment and the consequences of past development activities, determine future development opportunities, and also the need for restoration or enhancement of environmental resources.

The balance of so-called developed and undeveloped land is central to the concerns about the environment in regions heavily impacted by human populations such as major metropolitan areas and adjacent rural areas. Many of the major controversies over land use have arisen in these areas where expanding human communities impinge upon wild and less developed areas. Increasingly in North America, Western Europe, Japan, and other highly industrialized parts of the world, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are planning land use in these urban-rural “interface” zones. The main objective of these plans is to identify and manage the growth of developed areas based on current land uses, development activities, population density, impervious surfaces that cause water runoff, and existing community infrastructure.

Historical Background and Scientific Foundations

Considerations of land use and development planning are most prominent in economically advanced countries. In less industrially developed countries, in spite of what is often a dire need for land use management, land use and development planning is limited or non-existent. Thus, in this article, the emphasis is on land use in advanced economies and particularly in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States has a total land area of nearly 2.3 billion acres. The major categories of U.S. land uses are forest-use land, 651 million acres (28.8%); grassland pasture and range land, 587 million acres (25.9%); cropland, 442 million acres (19.5%); special uses (primarily parks and wildlife areas), 297 million acres (13.1%); miscellaneous other uses, 228 million acres (10.1%); and urban land, 60 million acres (2.6%). Thus, even in the world’s most advanced economy, land use in terms of acreage is overwhelmingly rural in character.

Nevertheless, ongoing development in the United States and in other countries with industrial economies is of growing concern and impinges upon environmentally sensitive regions. This is a particular problem within and on the fringes of major, sprawling metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and London. Even outside of these regions in the rural heartland, inappropriate land use and development, particularly in the extraction of natural resources as in deforestation and mining, can have long-lasting and harmful environmental effects. However, in the most rural areas, short of federal or state government intervention, such as when state or national parks and wilderness areas or preserves are created, land use planning is uncommon.

Classification of land use in metropolitan regions tends to denote the concentrations of already developed lands ranging from compact development to lower density rural development. One land use classification used in the New York metropolitan area that is based on the degree of development categorizes areas as Core Developed Areas, Moderate Developed Areas, Suburban Fringe Developed Areas, and Rural Developed Areas.

Housing is one of the major components of land use and development, and is often characterized by a diverse mix of older houses or more traditional dwellings in smaller communities, to more modern housing recently constructed in urban, suburban and (especially in North America) even rural developments at or adjacent to the suburban fringe. Assessing the number of housing units in a region provides a useful gauge of regional and local housing supply and to see where and how quickly new units are being added. This assessment is also a reliable measure of the extent and rate of regional development. Another measure is the proportion of land surface that is impervious to rainwater.

Much land use in metropolitan areas is a mixture of residential and commercial use. Zoning is a common method used by local municipalities in more industrially developed countries to control the balance of these uses. For example, in northern New Jersey, part of the New York metropolitan area (North America’s largest), the majority of the land is zoned as Single-Family Estate, Resource, or Rural Residential. The next most common zone, Institutional/Open Space zones, which include open space, parks, and other civic uses, represents a small

WORDS TO KNOW

DEVELOPMENT: The process by which a multicellular organism is produced from a single cell.

IMPERVIOUS SURFACES: Land surfaces created by human construction that do not allow rainfall to penetrate into the soil and down to aquifers.

SPRAWL: The unregulated and unplanned spread of urban and suburban development in a metropolitan region.

SUSTAINABILITY: Practices that preserve the balance between human needs and the environment, as well as between current and future human requirements.

minority of all zoned land in the region. These zones are usually located within residential zones of higher density. Composite zoning that allows intermingled commercial and residential land use is quite rare in this region, as well as many other parts of metropolitan areas in North America and elsewhere in industrialized countries. This lack of composite development ensures that people must often travel considerable distances to work and shop, which in turn has accentuated dependency on the automobile and the highway system. For example, mixed use zoning in the New Jersey Highlands Region comprises only 1 to 2% of the total land area of nearly a million acres.

Zoning has seldom been used effectively to protect the environment and effectively plan development. Northern New Jersey presents one of the most prominent examples of vast and difficult to control development and complex land use patterns. These patterns have resulted in environmental problems ranging from water supply depletion, air pollution, and severe traffic congestion. Northern New Jersey as a region has one of the highest population densities in the United States. In response to the growing water supply and environmental and pollution problems that have arisen in the region, the New Jersey state legislature enacted a comprehensive land use planning law, The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (Highlands Act, P.L. 2004, c. 120), on August 10, 2004.

Under this act, the Highlands Council created two major land use categories. The first is called the Planning Area, where concentrated development is encouraged. The lands outside of the Planning Area, which comprise the Preservation Area, are environmentally sensitive areas in which lower density residential zones predominate. A study of the region found that land-use zoning has been an inadequate mechanism for governing land use, and local zoning laws had allocated most non-residential building construction in areas inconsistent with

emerging state development and redevelopment plans. Investigators found that zoning as currently practiced in New Jersey (similarly to many other regions of the United States) does not protect the environment from the effects of urban and suburban sprawl. Current zoning laws in the Highlands Region would allow non-residential development in locations that would require the building of new utilities such as water, natural gas, and telecommunication and electrical systems. On the other hand, some adjustments to existing residential and nonresidential zoning in the region could foster development in urban and suburban areas that already have such services, thus improving the efficiency of existing utilities in served areas and decreasing sprawl.

The realization in many parts of the developed world as well as in some developing countries that current patterns of development are untenable in the long run has increased the willingness of inhabitants of metropolitan areas to consider regional land use planning. Again using New Jersey as an example, the New Jersey Highlands Regional Master Plan proposes that protecting the natural environment is a primary goal in order to

preserve regional water supplies, forests, and farmland. The plan is based on the observation that the development trends of the past cannot be sustained. Attempts are made to curtail “piecemeal, scattered, and inappropriate development,” while preparing for more sustainable development in the future. The main method that the act uses to bring about such change in land use is restricting the amount of land available for development or redevelopment. This places a premium on the efficient use of land in order to provide for community needs, economic growth, and preservation of the regional environment. Under the plan, development activities will be restricted to the planning area mentioned earlier and will be limited in their impacts on environmentally sensitive lands and potential to consume and deplete water supplies or degrade water quality.

The Highlands plan envisions several new, environmentally conscious zoning types including protected, existing community, and conservation zones. Under this new zoning taxonomy, the Protection Zone includes most of the forest, water, and wetlands. The Existing Community Zone includes most of the residential, commercial, and industrial uses, and consists of areas with significant concentrated development in existing communities that have limited environmental constraints due to previous development. These communities may have existing infrastructure that can support development and redevelopment. The Conservation Zone includes most of the region’s agriculture.

Issues and Impacts

The ways in which municipalities, states, and nations plan the physical arrangement or land use of our communities is critical to sustainability. According to the U.S. National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Smart Communities program, the two major features of land use practices in the United States and elsewhere in industrialized nations over the past several decades have come together to “create haphazard, inefficient, and unsustainable urban sprawl: zoning ordinances that isolate employment locations, shopping and services, and housing locations from each other; and low-density growth planning aimed at creating automobile access to increasing expanses of land.”

These land use patterns, which are shared by cities across the United States and, increasingly, worldwide, have given rise to complex problems created by urban sprawl faced by all—growing traffic congestion and lengthening commute times, air pollution, wasteful energy consumption and greater reliance on petroleum, elimination of open space and wildlife habitat, unfair distribution of economic assets, and the loss of community consciousness. Increasing the sustainability of communities will require a shift from poorly managed sprawl to land use planning that can build and keep up efficient

infrastructure, encourage close-knit neighborhoods and community consciousness, and preserve the environment.

See Also Green Movement; Recreational Use and Environmental Destruction; Sustainable Development

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. Land Use Planning Handbook. March 11, 2005.

Corzine, John S., Governor and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council. Highlands Regional Master Plan State of New Jersey: November 2007.

Web Sites

National Center for Appropriate Technology. “Smart Communities Network.” May 31, 2005. http://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/landuse/lukey.shtml (accessed March 22, 2008).

Kenneth T. LaPensee

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Land Use

LAND USE


Humans use the foundation of land for dwellings, the crops of land for eating, the grass of land for grazing, and the timber of land for building. Land brings with it the minerals and fuel beneath, and it receives humanity's waste. People fight over land. Although environmental ethics strengthen human support for natural animals and plants in their competition for habitat, human dominion over the land still leaves for nature only what humanity spares from its own uses. Logically, land cover differs from land use, but it is useful to think of the covers of urban settlement, crop, grass, and forest as four classes or possibilities of land use.

A simple equation connects land use to population times average food requirement divided by food yield per unit area. The German geographer and geologist Albrecht Penck (1858–1945) wrote this equation in a journal of geopolitics in 1924. Earlier the English economist T. R. Malthus (1766–1834) phrased humanity's dependence on food from land in dynamic terms when he wrote that the slow addition of food from land would limit humankind's exponential multiplication.

Location

Before considering global land use in simple equations, the factor of location must be considered. In 1826 the Mecklenburg landowner and economist Johann von Thünen (1783–1850) published Isolated State, a work that introduced location into a model of a conceptually isolated land area surrounding a city. Accessibility was added to the well-known factors of soil and climate that determined land use. Von Thünen assumed, of course, that farmers would maximize their incomes by considering yield, price, and production expense. To these, however, he added the distance to market multiplied by transportation and produce-deterioration rates. The transport cost to the central city of his isolated state creates concentric zones. In the inner zone, gardening prevails but falls off in a short distance because fruit and vegetables deteriorate, and deterioration is part of transport cost. The low value of critical but bulky wood and hay restricts their production to the next zone. A dried crop containing many calories is worth many dollars per ton and does not deteriorate. Hence such crops as grain or onions grow in the third zone. Because cattle go to market on their own legs, the pastoral zone lies farthest from the city.

Beyond raising yields and cutting expenses, farmers soften von Thünen's law in other ways. Trains, trucks, and airplanes cheapen transport, while refrigeration slows deterioration, lowering the obstacle of distance. Nevertheless, as famine in isolated regions can still demonstrate, that the obstacle persists.

Urban Habitat

Location in the city itself imparts a value to developed or urban use that trumps other uses. An ancient city pressed upon local resources and demanded inventions in farming and transport not required by roaming hunters and fishers. A city could finance and build canals, roads, and irrigation, which scattered people could not. Urban use persists, as a ruin like a Roman road attests, whereas crops, grass, and trees can replace one another. Because urban use trumps and outlasts others, it is fortunate, as Ester Boserup argued, that paving and companions elicit

FIGURE 1

more cleverness and invention than wilderness and solitude.

The intensity of urban use is indicated by the area in hectares developed or urbanized per thousand population. Assuming that the area of large cities is fully urbanized, one can calculate the area per thousand persons as less than 4 hectares in Mumbai (Bombay), India, and in Hong Kong in the 1990s. Focusing on smaller areas lowers the estimate of urban use: In 1995 the average use of land per thousand persons in New York City's five boroughs was 11 hectares; on the island of Manhattan, it was only 5 hectares. Twenty-four U.S. counties, including New York in the East and San Francisco in the West, as well as counties in Michigan and Minnesota in the North and Louisiana and Florida in the South, used fewer than 100 hectares per thousand inhabitants–that is, they had population densities of more than 1,000 persons per square kilometer.

Urban use encompasses more than dwellings. In the United States, for example, it includes industrial, commercial, and institutional land; construction and waste disposal sites; railroad yards, airports, and urban transport ways; cemeteries and golf courses; and water structures. The development of land in 49 U.S. states (omitting Alaska) demonstrates that urban use does not increase in proportion to population (see Figure 1). Thus rich as well as poor congregate and use little urban land, making city dwellers, despite their generally higher incomes, the most sparing of land.

At the same time that people congregate on one scale, however, they diffuse on another. Thus in the United States from 1920 to 1990, while the urban proportion grew, the number of persons per occupied housing unit declined from an average 4.3 to2.7. Persistently willing to travel an hour a day in their journey to work while transport speeds increase, people spread from central cities over everlarger metropolitan regions, building suburbs. During the 1990s, the population of metropolitan areas of 2 to 5 million people outgrew that of both more and less populous areas. From 1950 to 1990 urban land expanded at 2.8 percent per year versus total population growth of 1.2 percent, but in 1990 urban use still occupied less than 4 percent of all U.S. land. These trends are echoed in another developed nation, the Netherlands. And some slowing of the growth of urban land use can be seen in both countries.

Cropland

Of the calories and protein supporting people worldwide, 84 percent of the calories and 75 percent of the protein are from crops. Because many animals, bred for human consumption, eat crops, the dominance of crops exceeds even these high percentages. Nevertheless, such a simple proportionality as Penck envisioned between cropland and population must be modified. Dimensions prove that the forces on the right side of the following equation must be identical to the expanse of cropland:

Cropland = Population × Income × Appetite × Yield

where cropland is area in hectares, income is gross domestic product (GDP) per person, appetite is food production divided by GDP, and finally what is termed yield is cropland in hectares divided by food production. This identity implies an independence of the forces. Nevertheless, per capita food consumption rises as income increases, but not in proportion to the rise of income, causing the force of appetite (food per GDP) to fall.

Since 1960, the annual growth of the first force, global population, has slowed from above 2 percent to appreciably below 2 percent. Growth of income also slowed from more than 3 percent to below 2 percent per year. As income rose, the appetite ratio fell. The final force, cropland over food production, fell rather steadily at 2 percent per year. The net of these forces is the rate of expansion of cropland. From 1961 to 1997 cropland expansion averaged about 0.33 percent per year. The decline of the appetite and yield ratios moderated the impact on cropland area that Penck's simple equation would have predicted. The negative income elasticity of the appetite ratio tempered the effect of rising income and, in combination with farmers' improving yields, spared natural habitat from crop use. While benefiting nature, this sparing also benefited humankind, because the area of prime land suitable to be converted to crops is limited.

Grassland

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports a category of land use called "permanent pastures," which it defines as land used permanently (five years or more) for herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild, but apologizes that the dividing line between this category and "forests and woodland" is rather indefinite. In 1993 permanent pasture comprised 26 percent of global land, slightly more than twice the total area of cropland, slightly less than that of forests and woodlands, and slightly more than the land unaccounted for by FAO.

Demand for the protein in the meat and milk of grazing animals might seem to connect pasture to population. The change in human and animal populations, animal protein production, and the land used for pasture, however, proves that the connection is not a simple proportionality. From 1961 to 1998 humans increased at an average rate of 1.8 percent per year, but cattle increased at only 1 percent per year. The FAO-estimated 0.9 percent rise of protein added to the 1.8 percent increase of people means protein production rose fully 2.7 percent per year, outpacing cattle populations.

Equally surprising, pasture, which might have been thought to expand enough to support the extra protein production, expanded at a rate of only 0.2 percent per year. In an identity connecting population and other factors to pasture, the ratio of protein in the food supply to pasture area had to fall 2.5 percent per year. Although more animals eating feed rather than grazing lay behind some of this finding, the principal explanation must be more productive pastures and animals plus less animal product lost before it reached the table.

Forestland

Humans harvest trees for lumber for construction, pulp for paper, and wood for fuel. They clear forests for crops and pastures. Thus the expectation that rising population will shrink forests comes easily. But, contrary to that expectation, whereas forests shrank in some places, especially Africa, they expanded in Europe and the United States. French forests, for example, began expanding in the nineteenth century despite a French population that kept growing, although relatively slowly. Geographers have labeled the change from a negative to a positive connection between population and forests (from growing population and shrinking forests to expanding forests despite growing population), the forest transition. The annual 0.2 percent shrinkage of the world forest during the 1990s was made up of disparate trends, such as a 0.8 percent shrinkage in Africa but a 0.1 to 0.2 percent expansion in Europe and the United States.

Forests can be converted to farming. Whereas global forests were shrinking by 9 million hectares per year during the 1990s, pasture was expanding only about by 2 million hectares per year and cropland by less than 1 million hectare. Thus a balance of some 6 million hectares must have gone to the residual area–neither forest, cropland, nor permanent pasture–that comprises about a third of global land. Decreasing the encroachment of crops and pasture on forest further, agricultural uses can be subtracted from the residual area, and–with soil improvement and irrigation–even on formerly barren land. Expanding agricultural use by 1 hectare need not shrink forest area by 1 hectare.

Worldwide, foresters annually harvest about 0.4 percent of the 386 billion cubic meter volume of wood standing, calling the harvest "industrial roundwood." Much fuelwood fails to appear in such statistics. Because trees grow, harvesting is not a permanent subtraction from the forest. In the timberland of the United States in 1991, for example, forests grew by 2 cubic meters per hectare, exceeding the harvest by a third. Substitutes such as coal for fuelwood, concrete for poles, electronic documents for paper, and chipboard for planks, plus more efficient mills, steadily lessened the role of timber products in the U.S. economy.

High-yielding trees can spare natural habitat. Plantation trees can grow up to 20 cubic meters per hectare per year, producing the same harvest from 1 hectare as 10 hectares of the average U.S. forest. South Africa has only 4 percent of African land and 1 to 2 percent of its forest cover, but it has 19 percent of all African plantations and in 1994 cut fully 26 percent of industrial roundwood harvested on the continent. The forest area of South Africa scarcely changed from 1990 to 2000, whereas the forest of the entire continent of Africa shrank 0.8 percent annually. Intensive management can lessen the extent of logging use on natural lands.

The Residuum

After subtracting agricultural and forest land from the global supply, a residuum remains. Urban uses, mines, and oil wells occupy a few percent of it, but people leave much dry, infertile, or cold land unused. With effort, irrigation, and fertilizer, people can put some of this residuum to use.

Conclusion

Land use means land use by people. Therefore, population is the first determinant of land use, followed by the income of the population, which multiplies capability per person. Generally, however, the consumption of food and other products of land (from space for foundations to wood for fuel) does not rise in proportion to income, meaning consumption grows more slowly than population multiplied by income. Substitutes such as electronic messages for paper messages and gas fuel for wood fuel are one reason. Other technological developments such as skyscrapers and high-yield grain or trees add further leverage to modify a simple projection of land use in step with population.

See also: Carrying Capacity; Deforestation; Density and Distribution of Population; Remote Sensing; Sustainable Development; Water and Population.

bibliography

Alexandratos, Nikos, ed. 1995. World Agriculture: Towards 2010. A FAO Study. New York: Wiley.

Ausubel, Jesse H., and Cesare Marchetti. 2001. "The Evolution of Transport." Industrial Physicist 7(2): 20–24.

Boserup, Ester. 1981. Population and Technological Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cohen, Joel E. 1995. How Many People Can the Earth Support? New York: Norton.

Cronon, William. 1991. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: Norton.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1997. Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 1996–97. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Van Diepen, A. 1995. "Population, Land Use, and Housing Trends in the Netherlands, since 1950." Laxenburg, Austria: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Waggoner, Paul E., and Jesse H. Ausubel. 2001. "How Much Will Feeding More and Wealthier People Encroach on Forests?" Population and Development Review 27: 239–257.

Waggoner, Paul E., Jesse H. Ausubel, and Iddo K. Wernick. 1996. "Lightening the Tread of Population on the Land: American Examples." Population and Development Review 22: 531–545.

Young, Anthony. 1998. Land Resources Now and for the Future. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press.

internet resources.

Demographia. 2001. "Largest International Urban Areas: Ranked by Density." <http://www.demographia.com/db-intluadens-rank.htm>.

Food and Agriculture Organization. 2002. "FAOSTAT." <http://apps.fao.org/>.

Paul E. Waggoner

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Land Use

Land use

Land use is a geographical concept that refers to the ways in which parcels of land are utilized by people and society. Land-use planning is an activity that examines the factors that influence the nature and dynamics of land usage and develops ways to optimize those variables to achieve larger social, economic, and ecological benefits.


Uses of the land

Particular areas of land can be utilized by humans in diverse ways. These can include residential, institutional, business, industrial, agricultural, forestry , park, and other relatively natural land uses. Each of these broader categories can be further subdivided, based on the nature and intensity of the activities that are undertaken.

Residential land uses, for example, can involve single-family dwellings on large or small lots, or aggregations of multiple-unit dwellings of various sorts. The most intensive residential land-uses are associated with clusters of apartment buildings, which can support extremely large densities of human populations.

Institutional land uses are mostly associated with land that is occupied by public buildings such as schools, universities, government office buildings, art galleries, and museums. These facilities are most commonly located in urban or suburban areas. Business land uses are rather similar in many respects, and are mostly associated with land that is appropriated to retail facilities of various types, and with office buildings.

Industrial land uses are extremely varied, depending on the nature of the industry being considered. Urban-industrial land usage generally refers to the siting of factories or petroleum refineries, and of utilities such as electricity generating stations, and water- and sewage-treatment facilities. Industrial land use in rural areas can include mines, smelters, and mills for the production of
ores and metals; mines and wellfields for the production of fossil fuels such as coal , oil, and natural gas ; and large water-holding reservoirs for the production of hydroelectricity.

Land uses for agriculture and forestry are also types of industrial land uses, in this case involved with the production of food or tree-fiber as renewable resources. The nature of agricultural land uses depends on the types of crops and agronomic systems, which can vary from intensively managed monocultures, to more organic systems involving annual or perennial crops and little use of fertilizers or pesticides . Similarly, the intensity of land use in forestry varies from systems involving clear-cutting and the establishment of short-rotation plantations, to selection-harvesting systems with long-spaced interventions.

Some land uses associated with parks and golf courses also represent intensive modifications of the natural landscape. The management practices required to maintain these lawn-dominated ecosystems are similar to those utilized in some types of monocultural agricultural systems. Other types of parks, however, are little changed from the natural state of the land, and they may only involve the development of a few access roads, unpaved trails, and interpretation facilities.

The last major category of land use is really a nonuse, and involves designation of an area as an ecological or wilderness reserve. In most cases, this sort of land-use designation precludes the exploitation of natural resources by mining , forestry, or agriculture, and usually by hunting and fishing as well. However, scientific research and recreational activities that do not require extensive facilities, such as hiking and canoeing, may be permitted in many areas designated for natural land use.


Land-use conflicts, planning, and regulation

Land-use planning is an important activity of many geographers and planners. Land-use planning is usually pursued at the larger spatial scale, for example, by local or regional municipalities, counties, and states or provinces. The goal of land-use planning is to ensure that uses of the land are appropriate and sustainable, and do not cause unacceptable social or economic disruptions, or serious environmental degradations of the site or landscape.

Of course, land-use planning cannot achieve this goal by itself. There must also be a political will to implement appropriate land-use plans through regulation and zoning of the activities of people, businesses, and government itself. Achievement of a successful and sustainable pattern of land use requires planning, regulation, and monitoring, as well as effective resolution of unanticipated conflicts as they arise.

One of the most useful tools available to land-use planners is known as geographic information systems, or GIS . GIS is a computer-based system for the storage, retrieval, analysis, and portrayal of data on the uses, characteristics, and ecological dynamics of areas of land. Examples of spatial information that GIS is extremely useful in analyzing, portraying, and overlaying include data on topography, landforms, surface waters, environmental chemistry , wildlife populations, ecological communities, floodplains, political boundaries, etc. Because of its powerful capabilities, GIS has proven to be an almost revolutionary tool for planners, who can use this computerized system to describe both existing and future land-use characteristics, and to effectively model the potential implications of various land-use scenarios.

Urban and suburban land-use planning generally focuses on designing an appropriate mixture of residential, retail, business, institutional, industrial, and recreational land uses and activities. Attention must be paid to the delivery of utilities such as water , electricity, telephone lines, and sewerage services to all of these user groups, while also ensuring that there is an appropriate network of transportation facilities, and that unacceptable conflicts do not occur among user groups.

Unfortunately, many cities and larger urban-suburban regions have developed without paying appropriate attention to planning and regulating the various sorts of uses of the land, and tremendous problems have subsequently occurred. These diverse predicaments include such problems as large numbers of people living beside heavily polluted industries, terrible traffic jams due to little coordination of the development of residential facilities and employment opportunities, and large numbers of people having inadequate access to clean water and other elements of a healthy life-support system.

Land-use planning in rural areas must also focus on identifying and avoiding unacceptable environmental damages and conflicts among resource users. For example, in planning agricultural land use, it is critical to consider land capability and whether particular agricultural systems might cause excessive erosion , resulting in degradation of the agricultural resource, and unacceptable damage to nearby aquatic ecosystems.

In addition, land used for agriculture, forestry, hydroelectric reservoirs, or mining is not available for other uses, and this can have great implications for regional economies and their sustainability. Therefore, wherever possible, it is desirable to have a balanced mixture of appropriate land-uses and activities on the landscape.

It is also critical that rural land-use planning accommodate the need to preserve some areas as natural, self-maintaining ecosystems, so that unacceptable damages to biodiversity resources are not caused. This is also a consideration in urban land-use planning, although the opportunities to accommodate natural, ecological values are more limited in urban areas.

See also Ecological economics; Ecology; Human ecology.


Resources

books

Beatley, Thomas. Green Urbanism. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000.

Coppock, J.T. Land Use. New York: Pergamon Press, 1978.

Freedman, B. Environmental Ecology. 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1994.

Shortle, J. S., and Ronald C. Griffin, eds. Irrigated Agriculture and the Environment. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001.

Wright, W.R. Cases and Materials on Land Use. St. Paul, MN: West Pub., 1991.

periodicals

"Managing Land Use And Land-Cover Change: The New Jersey Pinelands." Annals of The Association of American Geographers 89, no. 2 (1999): 220.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Geographic information systems (GIS)

—A computer-based system for the storage, analysis, and portrayal of spatial data related to geography, ecology, and environmental science.

Landscape

—An extensive area of terrain, encompassing many discrete ecological communities.

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