Course Subject
Course Number
Course Credit

Comparative Land Use Planning

Course Description

Land underpins everything, and configurations of land rights and institutions can dramatically shape how cities grow, and for whom. As one of the most contentious aspects of planning, land use is also a central way for the public sector to intervene in urban development to promote more equitable and just outcomes. How land is framed and codified contributes to patterns of existing ownership, physical form, mix of uses, mobilities, housing and transport.


The course will investigate the central ideas and empirical practices across three core arenas of land use. First, conceptions of land rights draw from a diverse global array of legal traditions and practices that touch on key questions of externalities, transaction costs, land rent, public interest, rights and obligations, fairness and access to property. While ‘customary’ practices are often positioned as mutually exclusive with ‘modern’ freehold regimes, experiences of colonization and development yield more complex permutations and histories of conflict and adaptation. Second, through empirical cases mixed with theory, we will tease out intersections between ideas, politics and other institutional arrangements in shaping practices of land use and interventions. Finally, many governments, especially in an era of reduced public funding and decentralization, are increasingly turning towards land as a space of opportunity for planning. ‘Established’ tools, such as zoning and exactions are being updated, expanded and critiqued for a variety of planning goals. Others, such as expropriation, are less tenable in an area of greater resident organization. How the new or reconfigured practices, such as inclusionary zoning, TDR, land readjustment, land banking etc., spread among cities and implement will shape the urban fabric of the future. 


PADM-GP.2201 recommended


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