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.



Governing land use

This chapter provides an overview of the major themes and debates that have shaped how spatial and land-use planning is practiced and governed. It explores the purpose of planning, including its intentions in shaping both present and future land uses and outcomes. Next, it discusses evidence of shifting modes of governance, whereby an increasingly diverse array of actors is involved in spatial planning. It further describes how the scale at which planning is conducted has shifted in many countries towards a larger metropolitan frame and the importance of such governance across functional urban areas. Following this, the importance of flexible and integrated approaches to spatial and land-use planning is discussed. The chapter ends with a discussion of the need to consider policies that affect land use but that are outside of the purview of the planning system in order to effectively meet spatial objectives such as social equity, environmental sustainability and economic development.


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