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The Governance of Land Use in OECD Countries

Policy Analysis and Recommendations

image of The Governance of Land Use in OECD Countries

Land use has important consequences for the environment, public health, economic productivity, inequality and social segregation. Land use policies are often complex and require co-ordination across all levels of government as well as across policy sectors. Not surprisingly, land use decisions can be contentious and conflicts over land use are common across the OECD. This report argues that better land use governance requires the use of a broader set of public policies to influence land use. In particular, the incentives for particular land uses provided by fiscal instruments and tax policies need to be better aligned with land use objectives. The report furthermore analyses land use patterns across the OECD based on comprehensive land cover data. It shows that developed land is growing everywhere, but great variation exists between countries. Lastly, the report summarises insights from six in-depth case studies to show concrete examples of land use related challenges in OECD countries and the response of national, regional and local governments to them.

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A snapshot of land use across OECD Countries

This chapter provides an overview of major trends and developments related to actual land use in Europe, Japan and the United States. It is based on statistical analyses of land cover data for the three geographical areas covering approximately the time period 2000-12. It highlights that developed land makes up only a small part of the total land mass of all analysed countries. The area of developed land has been growing in all countries, but often the growth rate of developed land has been below the population growth rate, implying that land use on a per capita basis has become more sparing. More compact patterns of development are associated with positive outcomes along several dimensions. In particular, they are correlated with higher rates of economic growth and lower levels of air pollution

English

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